27 October 2009|
London (UK), Royal Albert Hall
This Charming ManWhatever malady caused Morrissey to collapse on stage in Swindon three days before this date, it didn't linger on; the singer seemed to be holding back a little, and his voice missed a few notes here and there, but he looked fit and well. The floor audience was into the show, but the seated audience was definitely more muted, which had a certain negative effect on the general atmosphere. There were a few attempts at invading the stage but none was successful.
There were no surprise in the setlist. Live staple "Irish Blood, English Heart" returned to the set for the first time on this tour, at the expense of "Life Is A Pigsty" which would not be played again (at least not on the Swords Tour).
Walking on stage to rapturous applause, Morrissey warned "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night!" After set opener "This Charming Man" he added "The North will rise again!" which may have been some sort of allusion to his return to the stage following his recent collapse. He replaced both occurrences of a line in "How Soon Is Now?" to "I'm still the son, the son and heir..." He curled up in fetal pose on the floor while his band finished the latter song. He always did this, but for the benefit of those in the crowd who didn't know that, when he got back up he used this to poke fun at his recent 'incident' in Swindon by saying "Thank you, Swindon!".
Morrissey bridged "Ganglord" to "Cemetry Gates" by discussing his new compilation and dedicating the latter title to one of his best friends: "That song was from our new 'Swords' which was released yesterday and which, of course, is another one that you won't buy... However (someone shouts that they already bought it)... What? Who?... You spoiled everything... This song is for Linder Sterling..." He made a few changes to "Cemetry Gates" as he sang "which seems unfair" and "who'll pickyou up and laugh when you fall". He followed that song with the introduction of his band: "The catch of the day is Boz Boorer... playing the bass very well is Solomon Walker... playing the drums is Matt Walker... doing okay on the guitar is Jesse Tobias... and on piano, etc, our new friend Gustavo Manzur..."
The Smiths classic "Nowhere Fast" was introduced with the line "Smiling back at the past, we find..." After the song he had one more allusion to his recent visit to the doctor's by saying "The doctor said I shouldn't smile... I told him I don't!" After "Irish Blood, English Heart" he chatted with someone who was asking him about his health: "What's wrong? What's wrong with me? I've changed? Which landscape? Do you mean Swindon? (someone hands him a record, he says) thank you..." He changed a line in "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself" to "some men here, they have a special interest in your funny career", putting so much emphasis on 'funny' that it came out sounding like he sang "your fucking career".
"The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores" was introduced with the words "With the unfortunate preponderance on television of so-called celebrity chefs... celebrity chefs... celebrity chefs... I have noticed, alarmingly, not one of those chefs is vegetarian... which is even further proof... further proof that the world is full of crashing bores..." He changed a line in "Is It Really So Strange?" to "I was bagged in Newport Pagnell". After "The Loop" he approached the subject of the poor sales of an upcoming concert: "Oh, by the way, don't worry about Ally Pally in November, I know you can't afford it... *I* can't afford it so, by all means, stay at home, and watch..." The lesser known b-side "Because Of My Poor Education" was very timidly received so Morrissey followed it with the rhetorical question "That bad, eh?" His parting words before going into the encore were "Thank you to Doll & The Kicks, thank you to you... may we never be further apart..."
The show was filmed up to halfway into "The Loop" by Steve from Soundsville International. His raw footage is not circulated, but a version patched up with Youtube footage is widely circulated on DVDs.
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