27 April 2007|
Stockton (CA), Bob Hope Theatre
The Queen Is DeadThe first night of Morrissey's Greatest Hits tour, which at the time was more or less seen as the American portion of the recently completed tour promoting the album "Ringleader Of The Tormentors", was a wild one typical of Morrissey's concerts in California. It is remembered by those who attended has having ended in a massive stage invasion which forced Morrissey to escape. The crowd was very receptive and started climbing on stage as early as "Disappointed". At first the security was able to control things and the successful stage climbers were cheered by fellow fans. However at some point stage crashers became more aggressive in their attempts and security had to become more violent to keep the situation under control. It didn't help that quite a few fans were trying to return on stage as soon as they were sent back into the crowd. By the time the first encore started the craziness rose another notch and by the time the band went into the second encore "First Of The Gang To Die", security were not able to control the flow of fans on stage anymore. At some point someone darted to Morrissey, grabbed him high on the chest and started tearing his shirt open, ripping Morrissey's medallion and microphone off in the process. Morrissey was nearly tackled to the ground so while the fan jumped back into the audience he decided it was time to escape. The band quickly followed. The Smiths classic "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" was planned as the next encore, but after these events the house lights came back on and Morrissey did not return to the stage.
While this was kept under control Morrissey revelled in the devotion. He was very talkative and playful throughout and gave a very physical and passionate performance. However there were quite a few sound problems and Morrissey often stopped mid-lyric and looked at his microphone. When he approached the audience end of the stage he would get feedback, so he sang from mid-stage most of the time.
This being the first date of the tour, there were many surprises in the setlist. Morrissey kept some material from the recent Tour Of The Tormentors MMVI, including the main tracks from most recent album "Ringleader Of The Tormentors", but he also added a good amount of older material. He played "Lucky Lisp" which he had never done before, as well as "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" which he had never done without the Smiths. Another surprise was the reintroduction of "The Queen Is Dead". The song had only been done live once before, in Claremont California in 1997. Most interestingly Morrissey debuted a new song, future single "All You Need Is Me". Finally "You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side" returned, it hadn't been played to a live audience since the Oye Esteban tour of 1999/2000.
Even before the show started the energy could already be felt. As Morrissey was about to take the stage fans got out of their seats and lined the stage. Security was unable to force them to go back to their seats. "The Queen Is Dead" was an excellent set opener. It immediately got the audience into a frenzy and set the tone of the evening. After the song Morrissey welcomed the audience "...to the first day of, the official opening of, the Asparagus Festival..." Later on he said he liked the Bob Hope Theater because Bob Hope was British. He made quite a few tongue-in-cheek comments about Stockton. He said he stayed at the Holocaust Inn in Stockton the night before and was awakened that morning at seven by the mandatory vacuuming. He joked that he had family that lived in Stockton and said that Stockton meant one thing in TV land: television programme The Big Valley with Barbara Stanwyck.
In "Suedehead" Morrissey purposely or distractedly sang "all the thing I knew you'd written about me" and made a 'ooops!' face as he did. In first encore "You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side" he sang the never heard before "someone told me that you've thrown away every day of your teenage life". He kept having to dodge fans during that song and missed many lines. The situation was already on the verge of chaos. The stage invaders were coming in greater numbers and were being more and more aggressive with security who were in turn being more violent because they were getting scared that the situation might deteriorate beyond their control. Morrissey was even briefly knocked down to the ground during that penultimate song, but quickly got back up and was able to resume. However things got even worse during "First Of The Gang To Die" and as described above security did lose control, a fan jumped on Morrissey, tore his shirt open and his microphone away, and this led to the early interruption of the concert.
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