Bill Morrissey at The Iron Horse, Northampton, Mass., April 21, 1996

Date: 29 Apr 96 09:37:02 EDT
From: Clifford McCarthy <102446.2702@CompuServe.COM>
Subject: Re: Comments on Iron Horse Show (Northampton, Mass.)

I caught Bill's Iron Horse show last week and I had some thoughts about it that I hope won't disrupt the "Morrissey love-fest" which is this listserve. First, let me say that Bill was as great and funny as I have come to expect from listening to him for about sixteen years. For those of you who have never seen him live, you MUST see one of his shows to appreciate how well the sadness and poignancy of his songs is counterbalanced by Bill's riotous sense of humor. None of this comes across as well on recordings.

Still, I was a bit disappointed in the "band" format. I had expectations that the addition of some different instruments and perhaps some backing vocals would take his songs to another level. Instead, I gained an added appreciation for the emotion Bill conveys with his simple guitar and his incredibly expressive voice. I felt at times the band got in the way. Some songs were richer for a soft drum beat and a low bass line (example "Handsome Molly"), but in my opinion, his best songs were the ones he did with little or no accompaniment. None of the other musicians sang any vocal parts. I also felt that Michael Toles wasn't given enough room to improvise on the few songs where he could have shown his stuff -- few of Bill's songs have natural instrumental breaks. Bill also seemed a bit uncomfortable in the band leader role, after so many years of being in total control on stage. I guess that was to be expected.

Make no evening with Bill Morrissey is still worth every penny of your entertainment dollar. Go see him. But when he comes around as a solo act next time, you'll be blown away.

Cliff McCarthy
Belchertown, Massachusetts