23 October 2007|
New York (NY), Hammerstein Ballroom
Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One BeforeThe second show of Morrissey's five-date residency at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom was an excellent one, it went down even better than the first one. Morrissey was in particularly good mood and very, very playful. He seemed slightly more engaged than he had been the night before. The crowd was also more energetic and vocal than the night before. There even was a stage invasion during the encore, despite security and the distance between the barricade and the stage.
For the benefit of the fans who had bought the Maximum Morrissey package (tickets for all 5 New York shows), many changes were made to the content of the setlist. "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side", "Human Being", "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris", "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want", "Disappointed" and "Dear God Please Help Me" replaced "London", "I Like You", "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me", "Shoplifters Of The World Unite" and "You Have Killed Me".
The interior of the Hammerstein Ballroom was in quite bad condition so when he came on stage Morrissey greeted the crowd with a shout of "Welcome to the Frankenstein Ballroom!" In set opener "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" he extended one of the usual lyric changes to "so I drank one or was it four, anyway! I fell on the floor and I drank more". Next up "Billy Budd" was preceded by the line "You're present at a moment in time when..." The song was extremely well received by the audience and the fans were thanked with the words "You are sweetness itself..." Morrissey completely changed the meaning of a line in "All You Need Is Me" by singing "you know who it is and you do like what it means".
After "Irish Blood, English Heart" Morrissey's bracelet broke so he said "Why do I bother?" and handed it to a stagehand to hold for him. He introduced the New York Dolls cover "Human Being" by saying "Most of the music that changed my life and made me realise I was mad was made in this city (crowd cheers)... This is Salt Lake City isn't it? So therefore..." He gave all of himself in the latter number, and made many minor changes or additions. He changed the line "And if I've got to dream" to "I never dream, if I did, I'm a human being". After the end of the usual lyrics he improvised many more. Most of it was undecipherable as the man was out of breath, but he did sing "I don't know how, happened what? I'm a human being" and "Somehow, sometimes..." As the band was hitting the final notes he shouted "Oh Dear God, I'm a human being... shocking!" After the song he jokingly told the audience "And if you don't know the original would you please leave the building... NOW!"
Before going into "Tomorrow" Morrissey proceeded with the introduction of the band: "There's no doubt in my mind that when we're all with the worms, when we're all herstry, history, dead... still thriving on the New York concert circuit will be Boz Boorer!... and if you like flu, sniffles, where better, Solomon Walker!... his identical twin Matt Walker... Da-da-da-deh! Da-da-da-deh! Da-da-da-dah! Jesse Tobias!... and ex-Bay City Roller, Michael Farrell... Was that funny?" The "Your Arsenal" classic "Tomorrow" was also treated to Morrissey's playful improvisations. Besides the usual changes he sang "All I ask of you is one measly thing that you'll never do" (twice), "tomorrow does it even have to come", "I never even said I wanted to. Be honest, did I!?" and "I know you don't mean it, of course you don't mean it..." After "That's How People Grow Up" Morrissey told someone "You weren't listening you were naffing! No? Well in that case I apologize..."
New composition "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell" was introduced with the line "I know you think... I know what you think... everything is forever. It isn't. One day goodbye will be (makes throat cutting motion) farewell..." After "The Loop" he cruelly teased the fans by asking "Do you remember a song called 'Piccadilly Palare'? (crowd cheers loudly)... Well, that really is your hard work..." Of course the following song was not "Piccadilly Palare" but the planned "Sister I'm A Poet". Morrissey exceptionally sang the alternate intro to "Stretch Out And Wait", well at least a slight variation on it: "On the high-rise estate / What's at the back of your mind? / Oh, your face I can see / And it's more or less kind / But what's at the back of your mind?" He made the other usual changes in that number, and after singing "is there any point ever having children" he handed the microphone to the crowd, as usual. And as usual they shouted "no!", which was followed by Morrissey justifying himself, "they said it, I didn't!". After the song he asked the audience "Are you comfortable? (crowd cheers) That was never the aim, really... Did I do something wrong Julia?"
After "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores" Morrissey simply said "the world is full of crashing bores..." and looked at a loss for words so he just made a face of resignation. In a similar vein he ended "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself" by saying "That's life!" Then the Smiths song "Death Of A Disco Dancer" was introduced with the line "Thankfully it was long ago, and it was far away..." After "Disappointed" he added to the song's final line "This is the last song I will ever sing" by saying "You were hoping, weren't you? Deep down... just for once..." Besides the usual changes in "How Soon Is Now?" he also sang "so you go and you stand on your own, and you leave on your own, oh what a big surprise!". Instead of the usual change to "see I've already waited too long, look at this face all my hope is gone", he sang "see I've already waited too long, look at me! look at me! look at me! look at me!".
When he returned to the stage for the encore Morrissey told the audience "Thanks for giving us such a fantastic night (crowd cheers)... from the heart of our bottoms, we thank you..." The encore was the type that Morrissey seems to enjoy best. Fans were fighting to get on stage and by the middle of the song to the end, they did in numbers. Morrissey was kept away from his microphone as he was helping people up or trying to avoid others running towards him. At some point it looked like he might get swamped by fans and some people feared he might flee backstage, but he hung in until the end. When the song was done he removed his shirt and threw it into the audience as he always did, and before leaving he flexed his arms to the audience, glowing.
Note: This is the concert during which opener Kristeen Young made a few controversial comments in her set which led to her being booted off the tour. She wasn't much appreciated by the bulk of the audience and had to suffer a lot of heckling. On this particular date she lost her patience with it and commented at some point that the descendance of criminals should also be eliminated as criminality is hereditary. She was clearly trying to get a reaction, but the most memorable comment, the one which very likely raised the ire of Morrissey, was delivered after an impatient fan shouted Morrissey's name: "By the way, Morrissey gives great head, err... I mean cunnilingus..."
A great audio-only audience recording of the complete concert is also out there. Not only is the sound quality excellent, but the recorder (Midy) also captured quite well the energy of the audience. At this point in time it is one of the best audio bootlegs of 2007.
Do you have information about this concert? Or do you own an uncirculated recording of it? If yes please contribute and get credited.