8 May 2004|
Apollo Theater, New York, NY
First Of The Gang To DieMorrissey's five-date residency at the New York Apollo ended on a rather good note. Morrissey was in the best of moods and reasonably talkative. The audience was energetic during the classics but paid more attention to the new unfamiliar songs. One fan made it on stage during "Jack The Ripper". The plant Morrissey wore hanging from his crotch zipper at the beginning of the show and one of his shirt were sent into the crowd as gifts.
The fans attending this concert were treated to what was arguably the best setlist of the five Apollo gigs. Regular "A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours" as well as part-timers "Shoplifters Of The World Unite" and "Now My Heart Is Full" were replaced by the returning "The Headmaster Ritual" and "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores" as well as a world premiere, "Rubber Ring". The latter had only been done before this as a medley with "What She Said" on The Queen Is Dead tour during the Smiths days. Also, the setlist regular "I'm Not Sorry" was given a break in favour of another track from the new album, "Let Me Kiss You".
"First Of The Gang To Die" was again slotted as set opener but on this date Morrissey introduced something he would do for some time on this tour. As he took the microphone, right before the first notes of the song, he sang accapella a few lines from Frank Sinatra's "My Way": "And now / the end is near / and so I face / the final curtain". Then after the song he properly greeted the audience with "Welcome to our final night, very happy Harlem..." He echoed this by changing the first line in the following number "Hairdresser On Fire" to "Where is Harlem, oh Happy Harlem". After "Irish Blood, English Heart" he thanked his "...friends" then added "Well thank you most especially to those of you who managed to come to every single night... we know who you are, we have your addresses, and we'll be around..."
The crowd went crazy when they recognized "The Headmaster Ritual". As usual Morrissey mimed out the words to the song and during the "la-la-la" part of the chorus, he just folded his arms on this chest and tilted his head while singing. In "I Have Forgiven Jesus" he distractedly sang "when there is nowhere I can go to unlock this desire". After the song he announced "Of course you won't realize this but in a few days we have a new cd album which... which is called 'The Impotence of Ernest' and... hysterical! And even Walgreens is gonna stock it! So watch it!" He then introduced "Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice" with the words "And this is not on the album."
After the latter number Morrissey started "That song was called 'Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice' and..." but he was interrupted by Alain telling the audience "see they're not". So Morrissey asked the fans "Did you hear that? Well what did he say to you?" which prompted fans to repeat what was just said. Alain then retorted "Just checking before I get sacked again", laughed a bit and extended his hand to Morrissey who backed up, feigned being shocked and mimicked shooting Alain with a tommy gun. It was all apparently done in good humour, but it left Alain looking uneasy, just like the night before when he had also been the object of Morrissey's teasing.
At the end of "Let Me Kiss You" Morrissey went shortly backstage to change shirts, returned and thanked the venue as well as his opening act: "Before we go any further, we'd like to extend our sincere thanks to the people of the Apollo for being so nice to us... and also to David Johansen who is hero of a lifetime to me and... and also... thank you..." Up next was the surprise debut performance of "Rubber Ring". The fans cheered loudly when they recognised the song and Morrissey pointed at them while singing the words "Do you love me like you used to?". After the song he greeted his favourite fan Julia in the front row.
At the end of "Such A Little Thing Makes Such A Big Difference" Morrissey fell to his knees then got up again and said, laughing: "And you were wondering why the tickets were so expensive... it's because the histrionics and the dramatics are extra... and worth it!" Over the opening bars of "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores" the man gave the title of the song and added "Full of it! Absolutely full of it!" He returned to the subject after the song when he said "And the world of course is full of crashing bores... which is why you're in here and you're not with the rest of the world... Possibly! Possibly, I don't know..."
Before going into "How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?" Morrissey proceeded with the introduction of the band: "I'd like you to say hello to... would you please put your teeth together for Boz... would you please put your knees together for Gary... and say hello to Deano!... and say hello to Alain!... and say hello to Mikey... I'm last I'm least and how can anybody possibly know how I feel?..." After the song a fan screamed "I love you!" and Morrissey retorted "I think you should really think that one through, I really do... Yeah?" He changed a line in "No One Can Hold A Candle To" to "Am I Einstein or am I Gertrude Stein?" and after the song he used that to introduce the following planned number "All The Lazy Dykes": "So in that song I mentioned Gertrude Stein, which leads us coincidentally to..."
The crowd favourite "Jack The Ripper" was humourously introduced with the line "This next song is all about the 80s... however, it's the 1880s..." The people in the balconies had not been very lively throughout so after the song Morrissey sarcastically said "Thanks to the people in the balcony for extending themselves..." The sarcasm must have been lost on them because they cheered at being acknowledged. Before encore "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" Morrissey's final words were "Yes it's the closing night at the Apollo... honestly I would... I'm very sincere when I thank you for giving us such fantastic memories. We don't really deserve it but thank for your energies and I'll see you in far-off places..."
A good audio-only audience recording of the complete set is circulated on physical and digital formats (recorder: Julian). It is sometimes seen under the titles "Happy Harlem" or "Live At The Apollo New York 2004". There are one or two additional audience recordings out there, but of one these may be the audio from the video recording mentioned above.
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