7 July 2006|
Exit Festival, Novi Sad, Serbia
How Soon Is Now?The reviews of this concert were mixed. On one side Serbian fans were delighted that Morrissey finally played in their part of the world. On the other hand not all of the audience knew the new material, and there was a portion of the crowd who was there for other artists. Morrissey looked exhausted and sometimes seemed to be going through the motions. His performance was good and he was still rather talkative, but he made an ambiguous comment (read further) which left some fans puzzled.
The setlist was very similar to the one in Zagreb the day before, but "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me" was dropped. The Oscar Wilde backdrop was reversed (Oscar looking to the right, not the left) and for most of the show, the image was split into the four vertical rectangles reserved for backdrop display. At times the image was instead repeated in each of the rectangles, squeezed to fit.
Morrissey came on stage, kneeled and shook a hand or two in the front row then went to the front where he and his musicians assembled in a line for the customary entrance bow. As a greeting and an intro to set opener "How Soon Is Now?" he said "There are some people in this world and they just can't let themselves go." After a rapturously received "First Of The Gang To Die", Morrissey said a few words to Boz and acknowledged the audience's enthusiasm with the words "Serve you, we're here to serve you, and we hope we can... if we can't tsk-tsk-tsk-tsk-tsk".
In "The Youngest Was The Most Loved" Morrissey mistakenly sang "the luck was all before him with a lovely wife beside him" instead of "we kept him from the world's glare and he turned into a killer". He immediately realised his mistake because he went "blah!" before going to the next line. This might have been the reason why he said "Thank God somebody knows the songs, thank God! Apart from me..." after the song. After "In The Future When All's Well" he said "Well we're very, very happy to be at Novi Sad (cheers)... and Julia is also here somewhere, Julia? I'm here, they're here, you're here... (pointing up around him) Mosquitoes? Mosquito? This is 'Ganglord'."
After "Ganglord" came the customary band introduction: "Do you think you could possibly say hello to the (struggles with the word) ini-in-inimitable Boz Boorer... and to the (feigns to struggle with the word) ini-in-inimitable Gary Day... the inimitable Matt Walker... the inimitable Jesse Tobias... the horny Michael Farrell... all alive, but doomed..." The last few words surely served as an introduction to "Girlfriend In A Coma". In that song, when Morrissey sang "there were times when I could have strangled her", he made his microphone cord into a noose and whirled it around.
In "Let Me Kiss You", as he sang "you see someone that you physically despise", Morrissey teased the audience by removing his shirt. At the very end of the song Boz extended it slightly by adding a few acoustic chords. As an intro to "You Have Killed Me" Morrissey started to say "We have somehow managed to release a cd called 'Ringleader Of The Tormentors' (cheers)..." At this point he usually mentioned how successful or not the album was in the visited country, but on this date nothing seemed to come to his mind and he just finished "...and that's it really!". If he had any doubts that the Serbians knew his new album, he got evidence that they at least knew its first single because as soon as the first notes of "You Have Killed Me" were heard they cheered loudly.
Morrissey spent the last couple of minutes of "Life Is A Pigsty" crouched in front of the drums. After the song he said something that puzzled many people in the audience "You will be horrified to hear that we had a very good time in Croatia (some cheers, some boos)... and you'll be horrified to hear we had a very good time in Hungary... and tomorrow we go to Finland..." Morrissey often likes to tease places he visits by setting them against neighbouring cities or countries, and that was probably what he was doing here by mentioning he had a good time in Croatia. However because he said "You'll be horrified to hear that..." some people interpreted this as a reference to the political troubles that followed the end of ex-Yugoslavia in the 1990s, a subject that was possibly still a sore spot for the Serbians. Morrissey might have realised he made a faux-pas because he quickly changed the subject. Trying to straighten his sweat drenched hair he said "Julia do I look okay? Do I look alright? Very uhmmm... lots of mosquitoes Julia... hhmpfff..."
In "I Will See You In Far Off Places", as he sang "looking to the camera, messing around and pulling faces", Morrissey did just that, he looked into the camera that was filming him, made hand gestures and pulled faces. After the song he whistled, then asked "Bored?" The audience replied in the negative but he growled "Yessss!" He then enquired "Anything incredible to say? Anyone for statements?" Things were shouted, but Morrissey didn't understand them, or didn't think they were 'incredible'. So he continued "Nothing to say? Julia, anything to say?" She didn't, and Morrissey made a disappointed face.
In "At Last I Am Born", Morrissey sometimes changed "historians note" to "historians write this down". On this date he went further and sang "somebody write this down". "Human Being" was then extensively introduced with "Now deep in the bowels of musical history I think, maybe, possibly, you will have heard of (takes an accent) Die New York Dolls (cheers)... Err, is that the yes that means no? (crowd: 'no'!) Or is it the yes that means yes? (crowd: 'yes'!) Good! So this is what's laughingly termed a cover version and it's a song by (accent) De New York Dolls..." After the song he acted like he was a bit embarrassed about playing a cover so he said "Well at least it wasn't 'Strawberry Fields Forever'... That would've been shit!"
Before going into the final song of the main set Morrissey thanked the audience "Thank you for listening, thank you for standing and... like some late lark singing, I will see you in far off places, and God bless you..." When everyone returned to the stage for the encore, each of Morrissey's musicians took the microphone one after the other to thank the audience, from Michael's American accent to Gary's British accent, including Jesse's words in Spanish. Then Morrissey stepped up to the microphone and sang in accapella a verse from "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out": "And if a double-decker bus, crashes into us, to die by your side, well the pleasure, the privilege is mine". This last line echoed the words found on a banner held by fans in the audience. The fans sang along as soon as they heard the first few words, and some were hoping that Morrissey would surprise them by performing that song as an encore, but he still went with the planned "Irish Blood, English Heart".
The full concert was shown on RTS1, Serbia's National Television. It was also webcast on the network's webpage.
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