4 April 2009
Chicago (IL), Aragon Ballroom

This Charming Man
Something Is Squeezing My Skull
Billy Budd
Black Cloud
How Soon Is Now?
Irish Blood, English Heart
How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?
I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores
Death Of A Disco Dancer
The Loop
I Keep Mine Hidden
One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell
Seasick, Yet Still Docked
Best Friend On The Payroll
Let Me Kiss You
Sorry Doesn't Help
When Last I Spoke To Carol
I'm OK By Myself
/First Of The Gang To Die
This was a good show, but not one of the most memorable ones of this tour. Morrissey was on form vocally, and his usual playful self, but he was not as communicative with the audience as he usually is. Most of it had to do with the set-up. Guard rails separated fans from the stage, which was also high enough to make sure that there was very little of the free-flowing exchange of handshakes and gifts that characterize many of the most electrifying Morrissey shows. It certainly didn't help that the sound in the Aragon was not very good, that the crowd was packed tight and that many people were talking on their cellphones instead of watching the show.

For the first time in a week Morrissey made changes in the setlist sequence and content. In the process "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores" and "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell" replaced "Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed" and "That's How People Grow Up".

Morrissey hit the stage wearing a tuxedo and as a greeting to the audience, sang the title line to Elvis' "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You". After "Something Is Squeezing My Skull" he said something that sounded like "Thank you Chumaho". He changed lines in "Billy Budd" to "say Billy Budd, (points at someone) yes you!" and "you think you could, you think that you should" He followed "Black Cloud" with the questions "Do you know what you're doing? Do you know who you are? Do you know what you're doing?" The Smiths' classic "How Soon Is Now?" was followed with the introduction of the band: "From Planet (Exenom?) Bob, Bob Boorer... born and raised in Chicago, Solomon Walker... born and raised in Chicago, Matt Walker... born, Jesse Tobias... Kristopher Pooley... I have no identity..." There was no explanation for why he changed Boz's name to Bob, but following "Irish Blood, English Heart" he added "By the way, Boz has changed his name to Bob. Just for tonight... Bob Boorer... Bob..."

Morrissey playfully made many minor lyric changes in "How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?". In "Ask", following the now traditional lyric change to "it's macho military might that will bring us together", he shouted "you choose!" After the song someone threw a white towel or t-shirt and he said "It looks like a small baby... it's just moved! Just said 'daddy'..." Over the opening bars of "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" he told the cheering audience "don't need to pretend... it's okay..." He changed lines in that song to "in the absence of your love, what love?" and "in the absence of your smiling face I jog all over the place". In "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores" a line was changed to "they who wish to crush you, they work within the law".

This was Morrissey's seventh show at the Aragon, so before going into "Death Of A Disco Dancer" he said "You know - at least you ought to know - if somebody has told you so, I think it's 24 years since I first stood on this stage (crowd cheers)... and if anybody had told me then that now, bla-bla, I would have believe me..." The Smiths rarity "I Keep Mine Hidden" was introduced with the question "Would you like to stare into an open grave?" After the song Morrissey just repeated the song's title. He followed the last line of "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell" ("so grab me while we still have the time") with the words "But do we have the time... that's the question..." Over the opening bars of "Best Friend On The Payroll" he shouted "Can you take it!" As he had done for "I Keep Mine Hidden", he followed the latter number with a repeat of its title. "Sorry Doesn't Help" was introduced with a plug for the new album: "If you don't mind, we have a reasonably new cd called 'Years Of Refusale', so if you can possibly crawl along to the final outpost, Borders and... and... and what? Do nothing..."

When Morrissey and the band were returning to the stage for the encore, the singer pretended to throw Boz into the crowd. Following the traditional line-and-bow but before launching into encore "First Of The Gang To Die" Morrissey returned to his earlier joke and said "I think a special round of applause for the wonderful Bob Boorer..." Amongst many improvised lyric changes in encore "First Of The Gang To Die", he sang "you have never been in love until you've seen something happen behind the (mumbles)..." Near the end of the song he shouted "That's it... eh eh that's it!". Over its extended instrumental outro he picked flowers from the floor and started pulling the petals one by one and throwing them into the crowd. He picked up a red zinnia, cut the stem off and placed the flower over his right ear. He then laid on his stomach at the edge of the stage and tried to reach some hands that were extended his way, before fleeing backstage.


A muffled but still reasonably good audience recording of the complete set is circulated on bootlegs (recorder: igaines). Before the latter bootleg made it to common circulation, an eleven-song set found on the internet was put together by someone who ripped the audio from Youtube clips. This was obviously made useless by the leak of the 'proper' bootleg, but is mentioned here because it is still found in some collectors' digital collections.

"Billy Budd", "Seasick Yet Still Docked" and "Let Me Kiss You" are featured on "Nights Of Refusal" volume 2, a compilation DVD featuring HD Youtube material from the second half of the American leg of the Tour Of Refusal.


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