Album Title: Live at Earls Court
Release Date: March 29, 2005
Genre: Rock
Unfortunately I've never had the chance to see Morrissey perform live. His last tour in support of You Are The Quarry never came anywhere near my home, and after listening to Live at Earls Court I am more torn-up about it than I ever was before. All but a few select live albums can be tossed in the trash bin without a second thought, and then comes along Earls Court, that in my opinion, trumps any of Morrissey's recorded work - solo or with the Smiths.

Definitely not everyone will share this opinion, if only because I casually listen to the Smiths and do not worship them above all else like so many people do. Whatever your stance on the Smiths might be, it's impossible to deny that Morrissey's voice sounds even more bizarre and wonderful on Earls Court than it ever has before. About half of the album is taken from You Are The Quarry, but it's equal opportunity for the Smiths catalogue, with classics like "How Soon As Now?" and "Bigmouth Strikes Again" taking prominence.

The clarity of the recording is miraculous, and they've somehow managed to capture the concert experience so lacking from most live albums - even the obligatory clips of stage banter and audience cheers are surprisingly uncheesy. Although it certainly can't compare with seeing Morrissey in the flesh (and I shall never rest until I finally do), Earls Court is honestly the next best thing. Far from being for hardcore fans only, the 80-minute record will impress casual listeners and newcomers equally, and maybe even set them on a quest for front-row tickets to the next Morrissey gig.

Writer: Jaclyn Arndt

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