1 February 2008|
Sunderland (UK), Sunderland Empire
Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One BeforeThis show went down quite well. Morrissey was still struggling with his voice, and there were a few problems with the microphone, but he was still generally in a good mood and had a lot of witty banter for his audience. To make it easier on his vocal cords, he skipped the high notes and had the vocal monitors turned up while the band's monitors were turned down, so he would not have to strain to hear his voice. The crowd was generally up for it, except at the very front where many seats had been reserved for staff and their families/friends, so a lot of people there were not necessarily Morrissey fans and just sat watching. There were a few attempts by fans to make it on stage during the encore.
The setlist was scrambled and in the process "Billy Budd" was replaced with "Tomorrow" and "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want".
Morrissey's first words to the audience as he took the microphone were "The wind is blowing, can you bear some poetry?" He changed a line in set opener "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" to "Friday night in Sunderland, who said I'd lie to her". Over the final few notes of the song he shouted "I'm... forever blowing bubbles!" (this is the title of a very old Broadway song from 1918 but Morrissey is very likely making a reference to the Cockney Rejects song associated with the West Ham United football team). Then before going into the next planned number he asked people in the front rows "Are you sure you're in the right place?" After "First Of The Gang To Die" he alluded to his vocal troubles by asking "Are the antibiotics wearing off? Thank God!"
After "I Just Want To See The Boy Happy" Morrissey interrupted a loud chant of his name to make an announcement: "Well... that's very touching... but it's followed by... it's followed by a warning (crowd boos)... that, as of Monday, any self-respecting butcher in Sunderland will be selling our new single (crowd cheers)... 'That's How People Grow Up'." A recently recorded version of that song for Jonathan Ross' late night programme was scheduled to air that night, so after its performance he said "If you scramble home late tonight just in time for the Jonathan Ross show (crowd cheers)... ta-da-ta-da-tadata, ta-da-ta-da-tadata, ta-da-ta-da-tadata... " Following "Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed" he said "That song is from our forthcoming cd-album-new, it's called 'Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed'... (fan loudly shouts something) Yeah you wanna say something? It's Friday night fight night!... I'm ready!"
Famous Carry On actor Sid James had died on that very stage many years before so after "Death Of A Disco Dancer" Morrissey told the audience "This is the place - I'm told - where Sid James (mimics having a heart attack/dying)... And why do you boo? How do you know? Nobody knows... A session with Barbara Windsor backstage probably... Don't kill anybody!" The latter comment had to do with the fact that Sid James was obsessed with and had an affair with actress Barbara Windsor.
In live performances of "Sister I'm A Poet" at the time Morrissey usually changed a line to "A plastic bag stranded at the traffic lights, this once was me", but on this date this was changed to "A silly fool stranded at the traffic lights, this once was me". Following that song Morrissey said "I know what I mean... Nobody else does... (something undecipherable; then someone asks for his shirt)... and you'll give me what?" Following this the fan said she would give him her love, which promped Morrissey to make a disgusted face. After "The Loop" Morrissey proceeded with the introduction of his musicians: "And then, suddenly, out of a raging black fog came Boz Boorer... playing the bassoon, Solomon Walker... drumming, Matt Walker... la-ba-da-da, la-ba-da-da, Jesse Tobias... la-ba-da-da, la-ba-da-da, Kristopher Pooley... Do you need to know more?"
Following the yet-to-be-released "All You Need Is Me" Morrissey enquired "Was that song okay? (crowd cheers loudly)... Am I being gauche? Is it simple?" After "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores" he started to say "I'm sure it has no significance but..." and never managed to finish what he meant to say because the crowd started chanting his name. He made many lyric changes in "How Soon Is Now?". Many had previously been heard, but he also sang "I am the son and heir of no one in particular", "you could meet somebody who can actually stand you" and "see I've already waited too long and look at this ugly face!, all my hope is gone". He changed one line in "Life Is A Pigsty" to "once again, I turn to me, once again I turn to me, who else?".
Morrissey bridged "Life Is A Pigsty" to "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself" by saying "Thank you... I'm as original as possible given the circumstances... and why don't you find out for yourself?" He changed a line in the latter number from "you'll never believe me so" to "you shouldn't believe me so". After the song he teased the locals by playing on their rivalry with a nearby town: "I woke up this morning, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, in Newcastle (crowd boos)... in a world of snow outside the window... and it was beautiful... but it had to be Newcastle (more boos)..." He changed a line in "I'm Throwing My Arms Aroudn Paris" to "I skate all over the place". Someone tried quite hard to get on stage during that song so afterwards he said "Thank you to the gallant souls... who at least made an attempt... and if you don't make an attempt, have you really lived?... Sh-shshshsh... should I be quiet?"
Besides the usual lyric changes in "Stretch Out And Wait" Morrissey also followed "this way, that way" with "brutto stronzo!" These words are Italian and mean "ugly shit!", and may have been directed at security which was trying to prevent of fan from shaking Morrissey's hand. The fan was finally successful, the crowd cheered and Morrissey added "see!" Futher into the song he sang "Will the world end in the daytime, I really don't know... or will the world end in the night time, don't ask me I don't know..." Then after "is there any point ever having children" he moaned "Noooooooo!!!". After the song he asked "Do you like Hillary Clinton (mixed response)... Does anybody like Hillary Clinton (mixed response)... Will she be the next you-know-what?... Barack Obama (crowd cheers), of course..."
Morrissey laughed uncontrollably at the start of "Tomorrow" and missed the song's first few lines. He then improvised many minor changes such as "all I ask of you is one pathetic thing that you just cannot do" and later "all I ask of you is one silly thing that you just cannot do". He also sang "of course you don't mean it". New composition "Something Is Squeezing My Skull" was introduced with the line "Now according to my psychiatrist... I'm dead... According to my psychiatrist, something is squeezing my skull..." Before going into "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" he repeated twice "Just a song at twilight..." The crowd sang along throughout the whole number, and at the end Morrissey changed a line to "Lord knows it would be the first time... and Lord knows it would be the last time".
Exceptionally, Morrissey didn't have any parting words for the audience before going into encore "The Last Of The Famous International Playboys". At the very end of the song he bowed and shook hands as he always did. Then, as he was expected to leave, he fell to his knees and held himself as if he was having a seizure. It is very likely he was alluding to Sid James' death on that very stage (read above). He then stood up and again fell back on his knees as if about to faint. He finally got up for good and as he headed backstage he swerved left and right, pretending to be too weak to walk.
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