19 January 2008|
Lille (France), L'Aéronef
How Soon Is Now?The third show of the newest leg of Morrissey's Greatest Hits tour was the best one so far. The sound in the Aéronef was not very good, but Morrissey and the band were at their best. Morrissey was playful and talkative and, unlike earlier dates, it didn't take him very long to warm up to the audience. He liked to tease the French and Belgian fans by mocking their accents. There was no moat between the stage and the audience, so quite a few people made it on stage over the length of the show. At some point Morrissey even looked annoyed with the crashers.
A few changes were made in the setlist with the reintroduction of "That's How People Grow Up" and "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" and the temporary removal of "Tomorrow" and "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores". The latter number was actually originally planned but Morrissey decided at the last minute to drop it.
As he entered stage Morrissey shouted something undecipherable and the band launched into the classic "How Soon Is Now?". After the song and a quick "thank you" they moved to another classic, this one from Morrissey's solo catalogue, "First Of The Gang To Die". After the latter number Morrissey teased the audience by taking on a French accent: "Thank you Lille... I'm a heeerrre... I am ill! I can't speak French, 'cause I'm heeerrre..." After "I Just Want To See The Boy Happy" he interrupted the crowd loudly chanting his name to ask someone "You're from Belgium, yes?... I know, I know..."
After "That's How People Grow Up" Morrissey told his fans "'That's How People... Throw Up'... is our new single... all over the world, except France of course... don't look at me, I tried!" Following "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" he started to say "So our conversation tonight will be about...", but he was interrupted by various shouts from the audience and never finished. In "All You Need Is Me" he followed the line "you ask me what will I be when I grow up to be a man" with something that sounded like "... a Shakeapearian poet". Then instead of following "fate has just handed it to me" with a shout of "whoopee!", he shouted "too late!".
After "The National Front Disco" Morrissey told someone "Still nothing to say, eh?" then introduced the next planned number with the words "This is a new song... yes... it's called 'Something Is Squeezing My Skull'..." After the song he announced "I realize nobody was listening but... that song is called 'Something Is Squeezing My Sk-[laughs]' and... shockingly, it is on our new, as they say in England, album (crowd cheers)... as they say in France, CD!... As they say in America, record!... Is that funny?" Of course this prompted someone to ask him the title of the new album. Morrissey at first didn't understand ("...Sorry?") and after the fan repeated the question he said, in a very funny French accent: "I cannot tell you! (crowd laughs)... I'm eh... I'm, I'm way too hip to tell the titles... they just appear..."
Morrissey improvised many minor changes in "Billy Budd". After the line "Say Billy Budd" at the very beginning of the song he looked at someone and said "yes you!". Then following "but everyone's laughing", he added "...as they should!". After "things have been bad", he added "...surprise!" He changed a line to "I would happily break both of my legs, I would break both of my legs" The crowd favourite "The Loop" was introduced with the line "Every song, a tale of sheer terror and (undecipherable)..." After the song Morrissey proceeded with the introduction of his musicians: "Steering the ship, initials B.B., Boz Boorer... on the bass guitar, Solomon Walker... on knee cymbals, Matt Walker... standing here, Jesse Tobias... and clap-clap-clap, Kristopher Pooley... and I'm the ghost of Troubled Joe..."
Morrissey made many minor changes and adlibbed improvised bits at the end of lines from "Life Is A Pigsty". In "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" he changed a line to "in the absence of your smiling face, I skate all over the place". At the end of the song he said "The end!" and asked his favourite fan "What's it all about Julia?" She mentioned something about the art between Strasbourg and Lille and Morrissey replied "Well they never let me out Julia, so I don't notice anything..." Some other fan shouted an invitation for Morrissey to come to Oostende and Morrissey replied "Oostende? What the hell is there in Oostende? Name two things they have in Oostende (fans shout various things, including the fact that it's a seaside town)... What they forgot to bomb Oostende? Are you sure? Look again!... I know people who live in (??), but thank you... (fan shouts a compliment) No! (more from the fan, who the night before had given him a calendar made from photos of him) I mean, on your calendar in February... I look a bit - the F-word... F-A-T... (another fan shouts something; Morrissey says) I can't answer prayers... I only respond to hatred and nasties..."
New composition "Mama Let Softly On The Riverbed" was quickly introduced with the words "Also from our new cd, 'Mama Let Softly On The Riverbed'..." After the song Morrissey repeated the title then told someone who had just gotten on stage and hugged him "Hello? Where are you going? Everybody deserves a hug... once a year, never more!" He made many small changes in "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell" including one to "that's when goodbye will be adios!" He was not happy with the way the song came out and followed its performance with the comment "We didn't really try... trial and error... but what can you do... For your patience, you will be rewarded, with a final song (crowd boos)... Controversial? Alright... I don't mind... I really don't mind... I live life in the fast lane..."
The Smiths classic "Stretch Out And Wait" was very well received and Morrissey basked a bit in the crowd noise before saying "It will pass in time... everything does... you should make that noise..." When he returned to the stage before the encore he said "When you walk through a storm, or in hell high, don't be afraid...", then mocked various fans: "Anything nice to say? (switches voices) No! No! (back to his voice) Anything to say? (mocks someone) Oh, my hand is all wrong! (back to his normal voice) Anything nice to say? (back to funny voice) No! No! I've got nothing to say!" The show ended with a powerful version of "The Last Of The Famous International Playboys" with the whole audience backing Morrissey.
Thanks to Thomas Fenaert for review collaboration.
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