25 May 2006|
New Theatre, Oxford
First Of The Gang To DieThis concert which took place in an old fashioned British Theatre was a great one performance-wise and sound-wise. The audience was very loud in their appreciation. Morrissey was very energetic and chatty, but appeared to be itching for a fight. Actually this gig will go down as one of those that are remembered for some controversial Morrissey comment. Oxford University is home to medical research done on animals, so Oxford-based anti-animal testing group Speak was invited personally by Morrissey to run a stall at the concert, and the man himself took the opportunity to air his views on the subject. In true Morrissey fashion, he didn't mince his words and they made headlines the next day. His comments also ended up causing frictions between anti-vivisectionists and pro-vivisectionists and there was a scuffle outside after the gig.
Set-list wise, there was no change in order or content from the night before.
Morrissey came on stage in a red shirt tied in a knot at navel level, with a carnation adorning his jacket. He and his musicians went to the front, bowed in a line tuen everybody took their respective position. The first thing Morrissey asked as he picked up the microphone is "Why? Why?", apparently incredulous at the audience's welcome. He then greeted his fans "So, for lack of anything better to do, here you are!" and the band struck up and went into standard set-opener "First Of The Gang To Die". After the song Morrissey extended his greeting with "Thank you and welcome... to what!".
Newest single "The Youngest Was The Most Loved" was introduced with the words "This is our single... don't buy it!" After the song Morrissey interrupted a chant of his name by saying "It's very nice to see you (cheers from the audience)... thanks for buying tickets so quickly... everything helps..." In "In The Future When All's Well" he emphasized a line by singing "the future is ended by a long sleep, thank God!". After the song he enquired about the previous night's gig: "Anybody here who was in Cheltenham? (some cheers) Yes? (someone shouts hello!) Very crazy!". After "To Me You Are A Work Of Art" he joked "I'm very sorry about the open grave... I don't mean the orchestra pit, I mean me... thank you for the whistle!" This served as an introduction to the 20-year old "Girlfriend In A Coma". The song was so well received that Morrissey exclaimed "Really!?"
Besides a few common live changes in "You Have Killed Me", Morrissey sang "What the hell is my life for", "Anna Magnani you will one day be" and "Who am I that I come to be pleading round here". After the song he said "I have very vague memories of being here about 50 years ago (cheers)... when I was the singer in the Housemartins (audience laughs) Were any of you old enough to have been here? (some shouts yes!) And you chose not to be? (whispers) I don't mind, doesn't matter..."
Soon after came the customary band introduction: "They were very happy, they were reasonably well balanced, and they weren't bad looking, and then they met me... Boz Boorer... the seven and only Gary Day... the brutal Matt Walker... the camera-shy Jesse Tobias... and (in a singing voice, to the melody of "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side") the boy with the horn by his side, Michael Farrell... and because I have no identity, I rely upon the press to tell me... which is a great life! As the first note of the following song "Let Me Kiss You" were heard, Morrissey added "That was nearly funny!".
It was after "Let Me Kiss You" that the tone took a turn. Morrissey had waited until this point to approach the subject of animal testing. The first comment was "Now of course, you may all be half smiling, but Oxford is the shame of England and you know why (crowd boos)... Because of Oxford University and the vivisection, which is disgusting! But make no mistake... for anybody working at those labs, we're gonna get you." The crowd was split by this comment. Some booed, some applauded, and a few were even seen leaving. This was followed by "Ganglord" and after that song ended there were continued shouts from the audience. Morrissey couldn't make out what was being said, he put his hand to his ear and asked "What do you say my good friend? Kill all the what? Kill the what? Who? Oh, what? What's he saying?" He moved closer and finally could hear "Kill the vivisectionists!", which prompted Morrissey to giggle in a incredulous tone and reply "What? Oh I see, that simple is it?". Then, moving on: "And who will save the countryside from the farmers, really... 15 range rovers, 16 people carriers... Anyway..." Again this was received with a mix of applause and booing.
After "At Last I Am Born" Morrissey asked his favourite fan and semi-official webmistress "Julia, anything to say?". He handed her the microphone and she answered "Thank you for defending animals, you're very brave" which was once more met by cheers as well as boos from the audience. To the naysayers, Morrissey added "Well if you agree with vivisection you go and be vivisected upon..." Then as the first notes of "How Soon Is Now?" were heard, he shouted "Terrorism!" After the song Morrissey asked someone in the audience wearing a New York Dolls t-shirt "Where did you buy your t-shirt?" Because the fan wasn't paying attention, Morrissey whistled and asked again "Where did you buy your t-shirt?" He had to whistle again and ask again before he finally got an answer: "New York? Yeah? It's very nice..."
In the outro to "On The Streets I Ran" Morrissey pointed at the band then at the crowd when he sang "take them, take anyone". After the song he started "That really was a song believe it or not" but was interrupted by a fan shouting something like "Up 'ere, up 'ere" in a drunken voice. So Morrissey mocked the voice and said "Could be Shakespeare!"
For the second consecutive day "Panic" was heard soundchecked before the gig. The song would see its live solo debut three days later in London.
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