17 March 2009|
Pittsburgh (PA), Carnegie Music Hall
This Charming ManMorrissey's first solo concert in Pittsburgh was a great one. After 2 cancelled shows (1991, 2000) and many tours without a stop in the city, and after slightly dissing it in the lyrics to the 2006 song "On The Streets I Ran", local fans were starting to believe that Morrissey had a grudge against Pittsburgh. But if this was the case, none of it showed. Morrissey was in excellent spirits, playful and talkative. The crowd enjoyed every minute of it and they let it be shown to Morrissey who seemed quite pleased, even surprised at the reaction.
There were very few changes made in the setlist: "That's How People Grow Up" replaced "Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed", and a few songs in the middle were moved a few slots up or down.
As he entered stage Morrissey went to the front row to shake a few hands before picking up the microphone and acknowledging his extended absence from the city with the greeting "After 100 years, finally, hello!" He changed a line in set opener "This Charming Man" to the more animal-friendly "when the pleather runs smooth on the passenger seat". At some point he said something about the day being historic. He might have meant St. Patrick's day or perhaps the fact that he was finally giving a show in Pittsburgh. The audience's response to "How Soon Is Now?" was so fevered, so intense, that Morrissey, slumped over the microphone stand, seemed stunned and genuinely touched. "Wow," he said, looking to the upper reaches of the overflowing balconies.
The live staple "Irish Blood, English Heart" was introduced with the line "There are several things to never let go of, and here's four of them..." The song was timely and heartfelt on a St. Patrick's Day. Although some fans were calling for it, Morrissey didn't do "On The Streets I Ran," which references Pittsburgh in unflattering fashion. However during "Irish Blood, English Heart" he did change a line to "There is no one in Pittsburgh I'm afraid of..." After the song he said "I'm thinking of all the truely great Americans who have been in this hall... Pretty Boy Floyd, Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel, Bugsy Malone, Ethel Merman... the list, the list, ends..." He changed a line in "That's How People Grow Up" to "someone on their death bed said 'who the hell do you think you are?'"
Morrissey made another reference to Pittsburgh in latest single "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris". He did not throw his arms around it but, because the place is famous for its steel industry, he emphasized the line "only stone and steel, stone and steel, accept my love". He changed another line to "in the absence of your (?) face, I (strangled noise) all over the place". He also pointed at Boz during the clarinet solo and said something undecipherable. After the song he was handed something that looked like a scarf, which he graciously accepted, saying "it wouldn't suit me, but thank you..." As for "How Soon Is Now?" earlier, the audience went crazy for "Ask" so Morrissey asked "Really? On a Tuesday?"
There was a great moment following "How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?" when Morrissey explained: "The shocking reason why many singers walk when they sing is because they take the beats of the words with their feet (Morrissey demonstrates by pacing forward and backwards) so that they can remember each word. And if they failed, then they fail..." His voice actually failed slightly at some point into "The Loop", so he cleared his throat and apologised. After the line "I am still right here", he added another "here" as he pointed at the stage. After the song he said something mostly undecipherable that ended with "...where there's blame, where there's blame as (it rains?) so because of that cloak you can probably apply for (someone shouts something) What?"
Before going into "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself?" Morrissey said something that ended with "...all this of course from a warp in my brain..." He changed a line in the latter number to "some men here, they have a special interest in your funny career". "Best Friend On The Payroll" was introduced with the line "About.... (points at drummer Matt) about... about, in the first word of the sentence... about 29 years ago... we released that cd called 'Southpaw Grammar' (crowd cheers)... from which (motions at Matt) ta-da-da-da..." He changed a line in that song to "how the hell can it work out" and following his final utterance of "this is not gonna work out" he shouted "Ah shucks!" Following "I Keep Mine Hidden" he said "I know it looks very easy but... it is..."
Morrissey's parting words before going into the encore were very surprising and unexpected: "You have been fffffff-fantastic... and for fuck's sake, have a fucking great night..." As was becoming tradition on this tour the singer paid little attention to the lyrics in the encore and missed many words because he paced back and forth, checking out the front rows and teasing the fans who were waiting for their chance to jump on stage. One of the successful ones was caught by security as he got near Morrissey. He swung one arm out in one last desperate attempt to touch his idol and only managed to grab his hair for half a second before being pulled away by the bouncer.
"This Charming Man", "Ask", "Death Of A Disco Dancer", "Best Friend On The Payroll" and snippets of "Billy Budd", "How Soon Is Now?", "How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel", "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores" and "First Of The Gang To Die" 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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