14 March 2009
Washington (DC), Warner Theatre

This Charming Man
Billy Budd
Black Cloud
Let Me Kiss You
How Soon Is Now?
I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?
Seasick, Yet Still Docked
Something Is Squeezing My Skull
Death Of A Disco Dancer
You Say You Don't Love Me
It's Not Your Birthday Anymore
The Loop
Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself?
Best Friend On The Payroll
I Keep Mine Hidden
Sorry Doesn't Help
The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores
I'm OK By Myself
/First Of The Gang To Die
This concert was a very good one. Morrissey was in great form, energetic, and clearly happy to be there. The crowd was generally receptive. No one made it on stage because of tight security. Actually security is the only negative thing mentioned about this concert. Bouncers kept harassing people to return to their seats and clear the aisles, and in the process distracted fans from the show. Morrissey even felt like he had to intervene at some point (read further).

Quite a few changes were made to the setlist. The most notable addition was the live debut of "It's Not Your Birthday Anymore" from the newest album "Years Of Refusal". This would turn out to be the song's only ever live performance. Morrissey's cover of the Buzzcocks song "You Say You Don't Love Me" was played for the first (and last) time in 2009. The two other additions to the setlist were "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" and "First Of The Gang To Die". To make space for these, "All You Need Is Me", "Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed", "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell" and "Irish Blood, English Heart" were temporarily dropped.

Morrissey greeted the audience by saying "Good evening Squashington!" before going into set opener "This Charming Man". After the song he added "At the Warner, you have been warned..." He changed a line in "Billy Budd" to "...now it's 29 years on". After "Black Cloud" he said "and for a quick translation of the previous song... this..." and went on to play "Let Me Kiss You". After "How Soon Is Now?" he joked "So you see, it's not Justing Timberlake (crowd laughs)... Are you disappointed?" He changed a line in "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" to "in the absence of your smiling face, I gab all over the place".

Following the latter number Morrissey proceeded with the customary introduction of the band: "I should tell you from the North West, the North West, is Boz Boorer... from the Midwest is Solomon Walker... from the Midwest is Matt Walker... from the South West is Jesse Tobias... from the Midwest is Kristopher Pooley... and destroying everything in sight..." After "How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel" he vented about a recent incident: "Thank you, very gracious... Yes we - talking about uniforms and so forth, we've had the gross misfortune of coming in at Atlanta airport where, you know, in order to be an immigration official, you have to have zero IQ (crowd laughs), be very rude, despise people, and be quite big. God help us all..."

In "Ask" Morrissey sang the new change "it's military might that will bring us together, so by the way ask me, ask me, ask me". After the song he told the audience "And if you're too shy to ask then just write it down..." During "Seasick, Yet Still Docked" the staff of the Warner Theater were asking people at the front without front row tickets to move back. They particularly had trouble with two women who would not budge. Morrissey was watching all of this as he sang. At some point he decided to kneel down and offered out his arm which the two fans held on to as an anchor, while Morrissey told security between two lines "don't worry, don't worry" and "everyone's nice... everyone's being nice, so nice..." The fans must have finally had to surrender to security because at the end of the song Morrissey said "Bureaucracy... it gets you in the end..." Then after the song he mentioned one of his biggest fans who seemed to have missed this show, and introduced "Something Is Squeezing My Skull": "I should - I'd like to say hello to Julia, but she isn't here! So here's our new single in England".

Following "Death Of A Disco Dancer" Morrissey exclaimed "Why? Why? Voice, in the distance...." Besides the usual lyric changes in the Buzzcocks cover "You Say You Don't Love Me" he also sang "I don't want to live in a dream, I want to be real", and more interestingly "the word entails a few things I would be guilty of". After the song he asked the crowd "More? (crowd cheers) What, should we go? (crowd: no!) Should we stay? (crowd:yes!) Take you where?" He made a few changes in the only ever live performance of "It's Not Your Birthday Anymore", the most significant being "Since it cannot be given well then it must be taken". After the song he told someone "Say that twice and it might be convincing... say it once, and it's quite convincing... however... (mocks someone in funny voice)."

After "The Loop" Morrissey said "Sarcasm rules the world... nobody knows... (to a fan heckling him) Very curious accent you have... Would that be Sidcup? (heckler says he's from Essex) Yeah? Ecstasy? (fan repeats Essex) Essex! Where?... I get the joke..." He improvised many lyric changes in "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself?", such as "they have a special interest in your lovely career", "nice men here", "tantrums come and go, for which you must allow", "what do you do, be honest!" and "I'm sorry don't rake up mistake". The next planned number "Best Friend On The Payroll" was introduced with the line "Now we're very very serious about music and the thing that we go... which is why you never see us in Rolling Stone magazine... our heads will always be held up high... and what was and what is are often two very different things. For example..."

Over the closing bars of "Best Friend On The Payroll" Morrissey shouted "forgive me!" Then after the song he said "Yes, yes thank you too... As I was saying... (heckler shouts loudly) If I wasn't blind and deaf... the stories I'd tell!" Over the opening bars of "Sorry Doesn't Help" he said "There's always someone, somewhere, with a big nose, who knows... sorry..." He made a few changes in the lyrics of that song, the most interesting being "You lied about the lies that you lied about". In "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores", he jokingly followed both occurrences of the line "you must be wondering how the boy next door turned out" with "how are you?" (therefore hinting that he is the 'boy next door' in the song). Before main set closer "I'm OK By Myself" he said "Thank you for allowing us to come here and do our thing for you (crowd cheers)... your kindness is appreciated and... so are other things appreciated... I can't remember what?..."

When Morrissey and his musicians returned to the stage for the encore, they did the traditional line and bow, then Morrissey took the microphone and had another jab at security "So, I could be completely wrong, but that was all very painless wasn't it? There's no need to get shirty and excited and bureaucratic and (grumbles, grunts, growls) the people..." He changed the first line in encore "First Of The Gang To Die" to "You have never been in love until you've dragged me down to the reservoir..." and later in the song sang "we are the pretty petty thieves, shit! shit! shit!..." At the very end of the song he said his goodbyes, including a shout of "Hare Krishna!"


A rather good audience recording of the complete concert is circulated on physical and digital bootlegs (recorder: Not Right In The Head aka Southern Bootleggers).

"How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel", "Best Friend On The Payroll", "I Keep Mine Hidden" and a snippet of "Sorry Doesn't Help" 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.


Do you have information about this concert? Or do you own an uncirculated recording of it? If yes please contribute and get credited.