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Morrissey @ The Palladium, 10/1/07

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"The Moz shuts down the Palladium!"

Well yes in a way he did and has, at least last night and tomorrow night, until resuming his 10-night (now apparently 8-night) residency at the Palladium. However Monday night's opening night show did happen and Morrissey proved why he is so beloved and adored.

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If you can get yourself to the Palladium in the two weeks or so, please do yourself a favor and attend one of the remaining nine seven Morrissey shows. I had never seen the Moz but have heard tales of his live performance. Monday, the first of a scheduled ten-night residency to close out the Palladium for renovation, I had my first experience seeing Morrissey live, to say the least I was not let down.

The show was painfully under-attended, with the Palladium's open expanse just about half full, if that. That did not matter, not to the crowd nor did it stop Morrissey from flying through a set of classics, newer pieces, a completely new song and one Smith's classic.

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Always epic, brooding and theatrical, even in this late stage of his career, Morrissey carried the swagger and bravado that only someone who has performed for nearly 30 years can have. From the moment he hit the stage with " Stop Me if You Have Heard This One Before" to the closer "Irish Blood, English Heart" he was in complete command of the Palladium crowd. His instantly recognizable tenor, vibrato tinged voice was in top form as he blew through newer songs such as "First Of The Gang To Die" and "You Have Killed Me" to older songs like "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself." The way he engaged the audience was a thing of beauty, from reaching out from the stage grabbing his admirer's hands to letting them ask questions between songs, there was a genuine warmness to his performance.

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After I shot my two (should have been three) songs from the photo pit I sat back just behind the crowd and watched the show. It was an almost ethereal experience, it felt almost like a school dance in some sort of way, given the venue and the timelessness of the music, it was an odd but enjoyable feeling nonetheless. His performance of the Smith's staple, "How Soon Is Now?" was the highlight of the night, closing the night as the encore. The clanging, crashing guitar boomed of the cavernous walls of the Palladium and the gigantic gong used at the close of the song made the ancient walls nearly collapse.

With all of the talks about the failed Smith's reunion, the performance of this song proved that this reunion is not needed. While you cannot deny former Smith's guitarist and Moz rival Johnny Marr's musical and creative genius behind these songs, it is apparent that Morrissey was the heart of the group and performances of these older tracks reveal this.

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All photos by Joey Maloney