Combining a 116-minute running time, bonus performances and behind-the-scenes features, Morrissey fans will find much to treasure on their hero’s first authorized concert document in nine years. Playing in the intimate confines of Hollywood High School Auditorium one night after a sold out arena concert at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, he celebrates his 25 years as a solo artist with a show that spans his debut album (“Everyday Is Like Sunday”) to his last album (“I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris” off 2009’s “Your Refusal”) as well as two brand new songs and a few timeless classics from his days in The Smiths (“The Boy With The Thorn in His Side,” “Meat Is Murder”).
Understandably, there’s a near constant focus on the charismatic singer, who embraces the adoration from the crowd and bestows to them his stylistic stamp of approval and appreciation. The direction and editing uses enough shot variety to make this less static than it could have been, and cleverly mimics visually the chopping rhythm of “Still Ill.”
Those who aren’t hopelessly devoted to Moz may want to skip fans testifying their undying love for the singer, songwriter and provocateur during pre-concert footage as well as during several breaks in the set. But, surprisingly, they should also find much to like here. His five-piece backing band plays with a controlled ferocity that unites early rock, glam and punk. Altogether, it gives the 19 songs, particularly “Irish Blood, English Heart” and “November Spawned a Monster,” as well as the four studio performances, additional power while providing a degree of the musicians’ own personality to The Smiths’ “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want.”
After a career of starts and stops due to creative breaks, business dealings and several health scares Morrissey and his band showed on this March evening that, in the end, all that matters is the song and the performance.