Sedentary is Judge Gordon Sullivan's middle name.
An unmissable event for fans worldwide.
Morrissey's music belies his past. Although he was steeped in the punk and post-punk music that saturated England in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it's hard to pin down any specific musical influences that Morrissey inherited from his heroes or his peers. Part of the reason the Smiths sounded unlike anything else going on in music was guitarist Johnny Marr's dedication to texture and sound in his playing. However, the other major reason the Smiths sounded unlike anything else was undoubtedly Morrissey's well-honed croon: Roy Orbison from Mars. Morrissey has continued to make music for twenty-five years now, and despite the sometimes depressing nature of his lyrics, appears to still be going strong. To celebrate this tremendous milestone, Moz gave a concert at L.A.'s Hollywood High, a much more intimate venue than his fans are used to seeing him in. It's a fine concert document that will certainly please old fans of Morrissey, even if it won't win him any new ones.
Filmed in front of a smaller crowd than his usual arean-sized venues, Morrissey 25 Live (Blu-ray) provides a generous selection of nineteen tracks that stretch back to his work with the Smiths all the way to his most-recent solo album. Here's the track list:
• "Alma Matters"
The best thing about Morrissey 25 is that it's well-filmed in front of a smallish audience. The Hollywood High auditorium boasts a capacity of 1,800, but they must have cut that down by at least 10 percent to accommodate all the cameras that director James Russell uses to capture Moz in all his glory. This isn't one of those skimpy concert documentaries that puts two cameras up front and one in back, languidly cutting between them. Nope, Morrissey is an expressive performer, and Morrissey 25 captures his contorted face, his raised arms, and shuffling dance steps in all their glory. Russell cuts in time to the music, offering us compelling shots of Moz and his audience. The second best thing about the documentary is the live sound. It's the perfect blend of Morrissey's voice, the band's music, and the audience's enthusiastic response. The set has much of the clarity of a studio recording without having that dry, distant quality that overly scrubbed live recordings often get.
Both of these aspects of the film are highlighted on Morrissey 25 Live (Blu-ray). The 1.85:1/1080p AVC-encoded transfer looks strong, with good detail throughout and solid color saturation. Compression artefacts aren't a problem either. The disc offers both LPCM stereo and DTS-HD 5.1 audio options. Both are excellent, demonstrating good clarity and separation between the instruments. Balanced between the audience and the music is well-maintained, and there's a good bit of directionality in both tracks.
Extras include some footage from Moz in the studio recordings tracks, and some behind-the-scenes footage from the concert.
The main problem with Morrissey 25 is that it's pitched straight at Moz's rabid fan base. The man himself has a strange habit of handing off the microphone to fans in the front row, and all they do is praise him. I get why he does it: Moz is all but a recluse as far as his fans are concerned, and this is the most interaction many of them will ever get, but to the non-rabid viewer it's a bit alienating. He offers the mic to those who will praise him—over-praise him, really—and then stands there while they say how wonderful he is. It's creepy.
The set list itself is pretty solid, with a good mix of older and new material, deep cuts and career highlights. Fans might quibble about the inclusion or exclusion of particular favorites, but overall there's nothing egregious to complain about. The set might, however, run a bit long for all but the diehard viewer. Morrissey himself seems to lose steam in the middle sections before coming back strong for the closer, classic "The Boy with the Thorn in His Side."
For longtime fans, especially those who've had trouble getting to any of his recent shows, Morrissey 25 Live (Blu-ray) is a fine document of the man's late-career live performance. Those who dislike Morrissey or the Smiths will find nothing to change their mind here.
For diehards only, but not guilty.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Review content copyright © 2013 Gordon Sullivan; Site design and review layout copyright © 2014 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.