Considering his almost too-many-to-count “bigmouth” shenanigans, including extremist ramblings and infamous concert cancelations, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Morrissey had lost much of his rabid fanbase.
But the roughly 1,500 people who showed up at the gorgeous Zappa Shuni Amphitheater for the former Smiths vocalist’s first show in Israel since 2016 displayed an uproarious outpouring of love for the singer who once held an intangible status as a beacon for misfits and outsiders.
“I’m very happy to be here in God’s country, the center of the world,” said Morrissey at the onset, Israel being one of the very few things in this world the man has actually shown support for. And then he put on a show to be remembered.
His strong setlist from both his solo career, and a bunch of Smiths songs, ranged from hits like “Suedehead,” “Alma Matters,”and “Stop Me if You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” all the way to recent bops like “Knockabout World,” “Jim Jim Falls,” and “My Hurling Days Are Done.”
Bringing the energy most people his age don't have
He displayed the energy that most 64-year-olds would only wish they had. Fiddling with the cross pendant on his necklace, kneeling down heroically to take breathers, comically hiding a whiff from a nasal spray, doing his classic chainsmoker schtick when a fan threw a cigarette to the stage on command as he sang “Give me a cigarette” on the song “Our Frank”, Moz’s flamboyant antics and interactions with the crowd keep things fresh.
Besides the few comments on Israel, Morrissey also started off some of his songs with cryptic videos and animations, and remarks on the Paris Riots (leading into “I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris” and “Notre Dame”), rhetorically asking “Who will save Paris? Who will save France? Who do you think?”He also mentioned his violent distaste for media and journalism, often being on the receiving end of portrayals of an iconoclastic artist in decline from the so called “Loony Left.” He said “Today your local newspaper called me annoying, which means that tomorrow I’m gonna have to burn it down, which will really annoy them.”
He finished the concert off with Smiths’ classic “Please Let Me Get What I Want” and, appearing for the encore dressed in a Morrissey x Israel shirt, performed another Smiths gem, “Sweet and Tender Hooligan,” that resulted in a standing ovation.
For the good and for the bad, that’s who Steven Patrick Morrissey is, has been, and always will be. And we’re all just mute witnesses to him.
Morrissey performs on Tuesday, July 4 at the Expo Tel Aviv.