28 March 2009|
Mashantucket (CT), Foxwoods MGM Grand Theater
This Charming ManThis was mostly a good show. Morrissey was very much into it, he was playful and talkative, and even stopped between songs to sign things for fans or hand them the microphone. However many factors combined in affecting the concert experience for certain people who attended. First of all Morrissey came on very early because there was no opening band. Many people who arrived later in order to skip the support band ended up missing part of Morrissey' set. This also meant that when Morrissey came on, the venue was still half empty, as people kept arriving during the first 30-45 minutes of the show. There were also many casino patrons in the audience and most of them were obviously unfamiliar with Morrissey. This had a negative impact on the atmosphere, which in turn had a negative effect on Morrissey's enthusiasm. Finally, the main reason why many people were left disappointed is how the concert ended with an aborted encore (read further).
There was very little change in the planned setlist, as "Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed" was replaced with "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself". "First Of The Gang To Die" was planned as the encore, but ended up being dropped.
As Morrissey and the boys came out on stage, Morrissey picked up the microphone and sarcastically greeted the audience by saying "Oh dear God, somebody cheered!" After set opener "This Charming Man" he simply said "Yes, or no...". Then after "Black Cloud" he told the front rows "You know, if you stand near the front, you can get whipped..." Although he was referring to the way he swings his microphone cable, flogging the air with dramatic gusto, he might have had a broader meaning in mind. He supposedly replaced the second occurrence of 1975 in "When Last I Spoke To Carol" to 1959, the year of his own birth rather than that of the song's main character.
Over the opening bars of "How Soon Is Now?" Morrissey shouted something that sounded like (but was very likely not) "Very fight!". After the song he proceeded with the customary introduction of the band: "It began as just an ordinary day in Mashantucket, and then all of a sudden, as night fell, there before you was Boz Boorer... and your bit of rough for tonight, Solomon Walker... your bit of rough every night, Matt Walker... yours, Jesse Tobias... tingling for you, Kristopher Pooley... and I am unknown..." Before going into "Let Me Kiss You" he sang accapella a few lines of an unknown song: "Someone loves me, I wish I knew, I wish I knew, who..." After the song he mentioned how this was hunting country and how he would like to hunt the hunters. He said that if you shoot the hunters right between the eyes it's a great experience. Portions of the crowd booed him for that comment, but he simply ignored it all and went "La la-la la-la, la la-la la-la..."
Morrissey changed a few lines in "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" to "and in the absence of any kind of touch..." and "I figure skate all over the place". He went slightly off key near the end of the song, so he added an "excuse me" between two lines. As the whistling part of "I Keep Mine Hidden" was not coming through properly, he asked his keyboardist Kristopher to correct the situation. He started to introduce "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores" by saying "So, as a few of you know, this year I celebrate 50 years of showbusiness... that was a joke... I've come to one conclusion..." This is where he was expected to announced that the conclusion was that the world was full of crashing bores. But he got distracted by a fan shouting something. He handed her the microphone and she said that he looked good in what he was wearing. He replied "What, nothing else? Anything else I look crap into..." He then moved to another fan, and this one told him that he looked gorgeous in everything, so Morrissey retorted "How do you know?". He then went to a young child and handed him the microphone. The child said hi, Morrissey asked "What's your name? (child: 'Billy') Is it too loud Billy? Is it too loud?"
Following the Smiths classic "Ask", Morrissey went to one of his front row regulars and asked her "Julia, wise words please..." She blessed him for sharing his poetry and voice, and Morrissey handed the microphone to someone else who asked him if it was weird that his wife was in love with Morrissey more than she is in love with him. Morrissey replied "It might be weird for you, but not for me..." Another fan was holding up a clipboard with a photo of himself and Morrissey from many years before. Morrissey told him "Does this mean?", took the photo, signed it and handed it back. The fan then thanked him and shouted loudly into the microphone that Morrissey was God, so the singer put a finger in his ear, made a face, and asked "Are you sure?" He then moved on to another fan, said "For me?" and accepted a few gifts, including a t-shirt. He told the fan "very funny", put his gifts on the drum rise, and signalled to Boz that he was ready to move along: "Yes Boz? Yeah?..." At some point Matt took a bit too long getting the drums ready for the next song, so Morrissey poked fun at him.
After the final line in "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell" ("so grab me while we still have the time"), Morrissey pointed at his (watchless) wrist, which illustrated his words, but was also taken in retrospect as an explanation about how he was rushing through the set, as he was allotted a limited time frame to play. He changed a line in "Sorry Doesn't Help" to "all wide eyed with innocent smiles". He strained his voice in "Something Is Squeezing My Skull", which made him fumble a few lines, but also made him struggle with main set closer "I'm OK By Myself". After the bass solo that ends the song, Morrissey repositionned his microphone at the front, said "And would you believe... good night!", and everyone left the stage for a break.
When they all returned, Morrissey had his parting words for the crowd (something mostly undecipherable, "(?) which is so rare, is so (?) with, (?)...") Boz then launched into "First Of The Gang To Die", but there was no amplification and all that could be heard was the acoustic strumming of his guitar. Seeing this, Morrissey pretended to cough, then said "My lovely quote has been ruined... I think I'll leave now..." He then tried to sing accapella the chorus to "Life Is A Pigsty", went "life, life..." but immediately stopped and said "the electricity is gone." Meanwhile Boz was still trying to make things work. Morrissey had a look at him, then turned to the crowd again and tried to use time by asking "Anybody know any clean jokes?... (looks discouraged) No..." He paced the stage a bit more, but then gave up and graciously said "Well, it's been nice seeing you... (waves to the crowd) and, next time, bye bye...", then walked off. The band put down their instruments and quickly followed, leaving the clueless crowd roaring their disappointment. It was at first assumed that the reason for the power failure was that it had been cut by the venue, as Morrissey had exceeded his allotted time and the audience had to return to the casino. However Boz later said that this was caused by a guitar pedal malfunction.
"Ask", a snippet of "When Last I Spoke To Carol" and other in between bits 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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