Morrissey – 3 Arena, Dublin, February 20, 2018

Most people have at least one embarrassing relative, usually an uncle. He probably has a ponytail or an earring, possibly both. Garish tattoo work wouldn’t be out of the question either. He’s probably got a tendency to say some pretty inappropriate, mildly embarrassing shit from time to time. He wouldn’t be a great man for apologizing for it either. But, when you were a kid he always gave great presents, slipped you the odd fiver back when it was something to get excited about. So no matter what he says or how many of your friends turn their nose up at him you still love him, that’s not to say you don’t feel flush with embarrassment when he brands a whole race as subhuman.

Morrissey is music’s very own pony tailed uncle.

Tonight at the 3Arena there’s no support act, just film of some Morrissey favourites/obscurities, despite this the venue still opens its doors at 6.30 which seems a little unnecessary on a Tuesday night. By the time Morrissey bounds on stage with his band there’s a very healthy crowd if not an obvious sell out.

Morrissey is given a rapturous welcome but his decision to open the show with a cover of Elvis’ You’ll be Gone means he doesn’t really capitalise on it. Following it with I Wish You Lonely leaves the crowd decidedly underwhelmed. Ripping into I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish followed quickly by Suedehead elevates the evening by a considerable margin, outstretched hands wave in approval. Morrissey seems to feed off it, exerting more and more energy in the process.

A screen behind the band displays images so diverse they range from Margaret Thatcher getting a clout of a mounted officer’s truncheon to a smiling cat listening to Morrissey on an iPod. As the evening unfolds however, it’s apparent that not everyone in the crowd is enjoying the gig as whole heartedly as the aforementioned feline. The set leans heavily on most recent release ‘Low In High School’ and while songs like Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s Up On The Stage and the Casio based Spent The Day In Bed make the crowd pop, much of it passes without reaction from the crowd.

Couple this lesser known material with the graphic videos displayed in tandem and Morrissey is definitely out to make some points this evening.  Who Will Protect Us From The Police? and The Bullfighter Dies in particular are accompanied by some pretty gruesome, graphically violent images. A retreat to the toilet at this stage greets you with a sea of traumatised looking faces. It brings to mind the scene in A Clockwork Orange where Alex has his eyelids taped back as they try to brainwash the bad out of him.

Whatever happened to throwing a few gladioli round?

The crowd gets reinvigorated as the show draws to a close when songs like Jack The Ripper, Everyday Is Like Sunday and Irish Blood, English Heart spark them into life but there’s still a feeling that after such a long block of material from ‘Low In High School’ it’s too little too late for the crowd to really relish the evening.

The peaks of the night were excellent but few and far between. Self-indulgence can be indulged to certain degree by fans, never more so than devotes of The Smiths and Morrissey. On a drizzly Tuesday in February though it seems like a little too much, a little too preachy, rammed too hard past the esophagus.

“That’s how they wants it? Well, they gets it.”