6 May 2006|
First Of The Gang To DieThe first of three Mancunian dates at the heart of the first British leg of the current tour was a success. The venue had a great sound and the local audience was very welcoming, bursting into chants of Morrissey's name at every chance it got. The stage was high and a good few yards away from the barrier holding the fans back, so despite some attempts, no one made it on stage. Morrissey still went out of his way to shake the hands of the crowd surfers as they were led past the front of the stage. However the man was not as talkative as he usually was on this tour. This might be explained by the presence in the audience of many members of his extended family, or perhaps he was showing signs of fatigue. His voice did sound a bit tired by his amazing standards near the end, and he did ask for the cancellation of one planned song.
The setlist was almost identical to that of the previous date, but "Let Me Kiss You" was replaced by "On The Streets I Ran". "In The Future When All's Well" was slotted between "I Just Want To See The Boy Happy" and "How Soon Is Now?" but Morrissey decided at the last minute to skip it.
Morrissey entered stage with his musicians to a crowd chant of "Morrissey! Morrissey!", they all ligned up at the front and the whole place erupted. Then everyone took their respective position on stage and before going into set opener "First Of The Gang To Die", Morrissey sang the words "I believe, that since my life began, the most I've had is just a talent to amuse..." to the air of the Noel Coward composition "If Love We All". This echoed the beginning of the birthday concert he gave in May 2004 at the Manchester M.E.N. Arena when, before going into the same set opener, he sang a few lines of Frank Sinatra's "My Way".
After the set opener came the second part of Morrissey's greeting in the form of "You are present at a night of poetry and decorum". At the end of "You Have Killed Me" he funnily sang "I forgive you, I forgive you, bada-bada-baba, always I do forgive you". After the song he said "So, here we are, Saturday night, Manchester (crowd cheers)... and that's that really..." Morrissey already knew that his upcoming single "The Youngest Was The Most Loved" would not get much airplay because after the song's performance he said "So that's our new single and, I think we're all agreed that we all hate Radio One (crowd cheers) That's lucky for me!"
After a very powerful "I Will See You In Far Off Places" Morrissey introduced his musicians: "They're not from Ardwick, but nonetheless would you say hello to Boz Boorer... to Gary Day... to the great Matt Walker... to Jesse Tobias... to the man with the horn, Michael Farrell... and I live permanently in a very dry well, but nonetheless I'm pleased to be here!" In the following song, the b-side "My Life Is A Succession Of People Saying Goodbye", Morrissey jokingly sang the first two lines as "My life is an endless succession of people saying go away!" Later in the song he just mumbled the word "flesh" under his breath, probably out of prudery given the presence of people from his family in front of him.
"Girlfriend In A Coma" was introduced with "We scraped this song off the gurney because we know it makes you feel warm". After "On The Streets I Ran", Morrissey thanked a Swedish fan in the audience who had handed him a Swedish chocolate bar he had once said was his favourite: "Thank you for the Plopp". In "At Last I Am Born", he usually changed the line "vulgarians note" to "vegetarians note", but on this date that part became "Mancunians note". He also did the other usual changes ("historians write this down" and "miserable child"). After the song he asked "But the question is, born to do what?"
Like elsewhere on this tour "Trouble Loves Me" was given has an intro an excerpt from a local well known song. The title of the song chosen for this date has yet to be identified. One third into "Trouble Loves Me" Morrissey was distracted by something happening in front of him (probably a crowd surfer who tried to get on stage and instead crashed into the pit). This made Morrissey laugh and he had to la-la-la a few words before catching up to where the music was. Then before going into the following number he announced "So I think we'll be all very happy to see the end of Tony Blair (crowd cheers)... and I personally think he should be hanged and then tried... why wait?"
The Magazine cover "A Song From Under The Floorboards" was introduced with "This next song resonates with Newton Street". This was a reference to 50 Newton Street in Manchester which used to be the home of New Hormones Records, the label put together by local band the Buzzcocks to release their first EP. Buzzcocks member Howard Devoto would go on to form his own band Magazine after the release of that single (and become friends with Morrissey even before the Smiths days as it happens). In the song Morrissey followed the line "I don't know what keeps me alive and kicking" with his own answer "...nothing". Similarly, a few lines down, he followed "I have known the highest and I've known the best" with "... I think!".
Before doing "I Just Want To See The Boy Happy", as the end of the set was approaching, Morrissey started on his thanks "Thank you for still being here (crowd cheers)... after what now amounts to... 62 years. Thank you to Sons And Daughters for being so great... and I hope you managed to see Kristeen Young, the most talented person in the world (someone in the audience disagrees)... oh yes!" Encore "Irish Blood, English Heart" sent everybody on a rampage to try to get to the front. After its performance Morrissey threw his shirt into the crowd, said "Ciao!" and left the stage. This was the second shirt to end up in the audience on this date, and the fight for it lasted for a long time after the end of the show, until it was finally ended by intervention from security.
The complete show was also filmed (recorder: G.O'G.) from the crowd but the footage is rather obstructed. The original footage is not being shared much yet but the best shots were mixed with footage from 2 days later on a bootleg DVD that is slightly more circulated, but still quite rare.
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