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MORRISSEY: July at the NorVa
For a guy who sings about loneliness, death and depression so much, Morrissey puts on a pretty terrific rock 'n' roll show. His sold-out concert at The NorVa on Monday touched all the bases of what makes a great night of rock: memorable songs, a tight band and a charismatic front man eager to entertain.
Yes, if you listened to the lyrics, you heard plenty of gloom. At one point, Morrissey - formerly the lead singer of British legends The Smiths - offered the crowd in Norfolk an uplifting little ditty called "Life is a Pigsty."
But watching him at The NorVa, it was easy to see that Morrissey's dark philosophy doesn't prevent him from having a good time.
Crisscrossing the stage, waving the microphone cord like a matador, he milked subtle humor from Smiths classics including "Girlfriend in a Coma," "The Boy With the Thorn in His Side," and "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want."
The NorVa was hot and steamy Monday night, and a hard-working Morrissey spent most of the evening drenched in sweat. Between songs, he ran his fingers through damp hair, then carefully adjusted it in front in a vain attempt to preserve his pompadour. This is a man who cares about his image, after all.
But music, not style, was what made Morrissey's long-awaited visit to Hampton Roads a winner. Along with the Smiths nuggets, solo tunes including "Everyday is Like Sunday" and "Irish Blood, English Heart" soared with help from the singer's strong vocals.
Midway through the show, Morrissey took a few pot shots at Madonna, who performed recently as part of the Live Earth concert event. He said something like, "So now we're supposed to believe that Madonna cares about climate change. If climate change was a coat, Madonna would wear it."