29 March 2009
Boston (MA), House of Blues

This Charming Man
Billy Budd
That's How People Grow Up
Black Cloud
How Soon Is Now?
Irish Blood, English Heart
I Keep Mine Hidden
How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?
I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed
Best Friend On The Payroll
When Last I Spoke To Carol
Seasick, Yet Still Docked
The Loop
Death Of a Disco Dancer
Let Me Kiss You
Sorry Doesn't Help
Something Is Squeezing My Skull
I'm OK By Myself
/First Of The Gang To Die
This was overall a good concert. Morrissey was in excellent spirits and very playful. He was perhaps slightly less talkative than usual, but clearly not because he was not enjoying himself. The crowd was not the most energetic, but it was appreciative. No one made it on stage, despite quite a few valiant attempts. It must be said that the front barrier security pit was almost impossible to cross.

For the first time in some time the setlist was significantly scrambled and in the process "Billy Budd", "That's How People Grow Up" and "Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed" took the places of "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores", "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself?" and "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell". Encore "First Of The Gang To Die", which could not be played the night before, also returned to the set.

As Morrissey entered stage he greeted the audience by saying "You are standing in the House of Boos... so for God's sake, make use of the fact..." It is unclear however if he meant to say "House Of Boos" or "House Of Booze". After set opener "This Charming Man" he just made random babbling noises until the band launched into "Billy Budd". He made most of the usual lyric changes in the latter number, such as "if you could do you think that you should" and "now it's thirty years on", but he also sang "I would lose both of my legs anyday." After that song came the second part of his greeting: "Welcome to - well, what the hell is this? I don't know..." He took one of the usual lyric changes in "How Soon Is Now?" a step further: "I am the son, the son and heir, of what? Just the silence that is crippling and vulgar".

Following "Irish Blood, English Heart". Morrissey stayed on topic for the customary introduction of the band: "An extremely rough Irishman is Boz Boorer... an excessively rough Irishman, Solomon Walker... another Irishman, Matt Walker... Irish all the way, Jesse Tobias... and of course, Kristopher Pooley... and I just - I rolled in with the fog, and with the fog I shall roll away where I shall wither and die (pretends to stumble)..." He ended "I Keep Mine Hidden" by singing "Oh what the hell, expect it!". After the song he jokingly said "I think you'll agree it's very difficult to be a singer. It takes immense courage, sterling character, huge chest (crowd laughs)... so, that's me for you..." After "How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel" he said "The one slightly amusing thing about life, and there's only one, is that, where songs are concerned, everything vibrates... (turns to his musicians) Yes, today would be nice..."

Besides the usual lyric changes in "Ask" Morrissey also playfully sang "nature is a language, can't you read? / bodies, a language, can't you read?" After the change "if it's not love, it's macho military might that will bring us together", he added "take your pick!". At some point into the song someone gave him a hat with the word VILE on it (an imitation of the one he wears in the "November Spawned A Monster" video). After the song he threw it back into the audience and said "I knew this hat would be vile..." After "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" he just said "it's not funny". He missed the first few lines of "Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed" then punctuated the line "Was it the pigs in grey suits persecuting you?" with "Yes it was!". Further into the song he punctuated the line "life is nothing much to lose" with "it is!". After the song he half apologized by saying "I made a mistake... to err is human... to be human is to be loved, apparently..."

The crowd must have been apathetic during "Best Friend On The Payroll" because halfway into it Morrissey asked "Does anybody know this song? Does anybody like it? Do *I* like it?" Further into it he changed a line to "How the hell can it work out? I dunno, ask me!" and roared the final chorus. After the song someone mistakenly started "Seasick, Yet Still Docked" when the next planned number was actually "When Last I Spoke To Carol". After a few notes it stopped and Morrissey asked "Did you hear that? Can you name that tune? No?" He then filled the gap by saying "There's only one thing, in the whole of life, that you can control (coughs over this last word)... Alright that you can't control. And that one thing is yourself... and I'm trying..."

Morrissey changed lines in "When Last I Spoke To Carol" to "across this ugly face of mine" and "she had faded to something that I still know". After "The Loop" he had a story to share: "Tonight, after this, we have a very long drive to Ann Arbor. So... well, everywhere exists... so I... because they have two really nice kitchens in the back here, so I asked if I could - forgive me - make some brown rice and peppers for the journey and, do you know what they said? Do you know what they said in the House Of Rules? 'No!' Can you believe that? (crowd reacts) Two beautiful kitchens, I just wanna make some brown rice for a long journey. The House Of Rules say 'no'. People are horrible, aren't they?" Morrissey's delivery of those lines was exaggeratingly pitiful, and it worked. The audience replied by loudly booing the venue.

After the long noisy outro to "Death Of A Disco Dancer" Morrissey exclaimed "Because we must!" Someone then handed him a vinyl copy of the new album with a Sharpie. Morrissey took them, signed the record's sleeve and said, his voice trailing off, "If I can bring one second of happiness... to anybody!" Following "Sorry Doesn't Help" he simply repeated the song's title. His parting words before going into the encore were "Now that the night's closing, you're becoming frisky... What does frisky mean?" Of course, as had become tradition, he made a complete mess of the lyrics in encore "First Of The Gang To Die" because he was too busy keeping an eye on the fans trying to get on stage, teasing them, and shaking hands with them. No one managed to reach him, but at the very end of the song, as he was holding hands with someone who was quite far from the stage, Morrissey shouted for him to "Jump! Jump!"


A very good audience recording of the complete set is widely circulated on the internet, although only on MP3 format at this point in time.

"Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed" is 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.