11 March 2009|
Durham (NC), Durham Performing Arts Center
This Charming ManFans coming into this show had cause to worry. Morrissey had just cancelled a bunch of concerts, played an abbreviated one, then cancelled two more. However there were no signs that the singer had just been ill. He was in excellent form, playful, talkative and sounded great. The crowd was overall quite receptive and thanks to mellow security and an accessible stage, quite a few fans were successful in their attempts at giving Morrissey a hug.
Quite a few changes were made in the setlist: "That's How People Grow Up", "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself" and "I'm OK By Myself" returned while "Billy Budd", "Let Me Kiss You", "The Loop" and "Irish Blood, English Heart" were played for the first time in 2009. To make space for these, "First Of The Gang To Die", "Sister, I'm A Poet" and "All You Need Is Me" were temporarily dropped. The latter title was actually on the setlist as a possible second encore, but it wasn't done.
Morrissey greeted the Durham audience by saying "To give is the reason I live..." before going into set opener "This Charming Man". Halfway into the song, as he sang "when in this charming car, this charming man", he pointed at the sailor backdrop. After the song he asked "Why wait? Why wait..." Soon after he said "This is the Arts Center, and we are art." As he sang the line "It's a miracle I even made it this far" in "Something Is Squeezing My Skull" he pointed at the stage, a possible allusion to the recent cancelled gigs. After the latter number he mentioned that he needed to get that song out early in the night to hit the notes. Following "Black Cloud" he said something undecipherable then added "we also have a Durham, but this one is nicer..." Besides most usual lyric changes in "Billy Budd", he also sang "now it's 30 years on"!
Over the opening bars of the classic "How Soon Is Now?" Morrissey shouted "Because we must!" He made some of the usual lyric changes in that song, but not all of them. In one new line near the end he sang "See Iíve already waited too long and most of my life is gone". The first few stage invaders of the evening managed to throw their arms around Morrissey as he was singing "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris". After the song the singer proceeded with the introduction of the band, in which Boz was introduced as "...a man of many selves." Following "Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed" Morrissey asked the crowd about their "new president" and said "The problem is, there's really not that much to complain about... yet!" He changed a line in the Smiths classic "Ask" to "coyness can stop you from being all the things in life that you have to".
"How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?" was preceded by the words "I could say much more but..." As the opening notes of "Let Me Kiss You" were heard Morrissey said "I left something in Myrtle Beach (undecipherable)... I told you myself..." Following "Seasick, Yet Still Docked" he said "Thank you greatly..." After "The Loop" he told irregular regular fan Mel "Surely you have something shocking to say..." and teased her by handing her the microphone but snatching it back when she reached for it. She decided not to play the game and folded her arms so Morrissey told her to "be nice." She told him that he should be nice and he answered "why should I?" He finally surrendered the microphone, she said her bit and gave him a gift.
Prior to playing "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell" Morrissey mentioned his newest album "Years Of Refusal" and said of it that "it's a collection of cautionary tales which nobody listens to, but they're nice to write, so what the hell..." On a similar subject earlier in the show he had mentioned how writing new songs is good because it keeps a fire in the belly rather than one upstairs in the elevator of the 22nd floor. He also said that it is better to write songs than to work at McDonalds.
After "I Keep Mine Hidden" Morrissey told the crowd "that song was from eleven centuries ago..." He then went on to slowly articulate the song's first three lines for the crowd and added "It's Shakespeare, really..." During "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores" he gave the middle finger to someone who was on stage left. He slightly changed a line in the latter number to "But don't stare, she's still there." Besides the usual lyric changes in "Life Is A Pigsty" he also extended one to "life - by the way - is a pigsty". The latter title was followed again by the traditional "Happy Birthday" tune, but instead of segueing into "How Soon Is Now?" as was tradition, it led into main set closer "I'm OK By Myself".
After a short break Morrissey and his band took the stage again. Before going into the encore they had the usual group bow. During the encore many fans tried one last time to get on stage, some with the help of Morrissey himself. The singer revelled in the action and told the crowd between two lines: "This may be just another night for you but for me, this is as close as I get to S-E-X!"
"That's How People Grow Up", "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell" and snippets of "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself" and "Irish Blood English Heart" are featured on "Nights Of Refusal" volume 1, a compilation DVD featuring HD Youtube material from the first half of the American leg of the Tour Of Refusal.
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