2 December 2009|
Oakland (CA), Paramount Theatre
This Charming ManThis was an excellent concert, although for a brief time near the end it looked like it would not end well. Morrissey sounded great, he was in excellent, playful spirits, and was particularly chatty. The crowd was not very energetic, maybe because the venue was a seated one, but it was appreciative and it woke up en masse at the end when many fans invaded the stage. A fight even broke out in the pit, during the encore, between the rough security and some fans who were trying to get on stage.
The setlist was significantly resequenced and in the process "Because Of My Poor Education" replaced "If You Don't Like Me, Don't Look At Me". "I'm OK By Myself" was planned as main set closer, but Morrissey decided to drop it as the band was getting ready to launch into it. When they came back on stage for the encore, they played "First Of The Gang To Die" instead of the planned "Something Is Squeezing My Skull".
After taking the stage and the customary round of handshakes, Morrissey greeted the audience with the question "Are you ready?" He introduced "Ganglord" by saying something like, "nice neighborhood we're in..." He asked the audience if they knew all the famous people who had stood on "this stage". He first mentioned James Cagney and asked if anyone knew who he was. He then asked someone in the audience if they knew anyone else. He didn't get a satisfying answer so mentioned George Raft and asked the same person if they knew who George Raft was. As he still got nothing satisfying, he comically rushed back to the band and said "next number!"
After "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" Morrissey said that while staying in his hotel in San Francisco that day he did something he "vowed I would never do again, turn on the TV. I was determined to find something watchable even if it took 12 hours of channel surfing (makes remote control flipping motions with his hand)... channel 96, 97, 98, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, one hour later... there was nothing. Why is this? Heidi? (hands microphone to fan) Katie! (points at two fans) You're Katie, no, you're Heidi (fan: 'I'm Katie'; Morrissey makes face) I can't know everybody! Here! (hands microphone to fan who says: 'you have a 50/50 chance of getting it right!'; then Morrissey, to the audience) Well, they're identical twins for God's sake! (undecipherable part about being unable to tell them apart)... unless they're both naked in the same bath! (crowd cheers) So why is television so bad? (fan says something) Well it's not really the morning or the night, it's just this country. Why it's so bad? Why? (fan: 'you're not on it enough!') Well it's a nice answer! But totally unrealistic... Can you imagine me on The View? (crowd laughs) I can! I can!"
Besides previously heard lyrics changes in "Cemetry Gates", such as "stonely read the graves", Morrissey also sang "while Anne Sexton is on mine". After "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores" he chatted a bit more with fans in the front rows (this may be where he said something about Jobriath), then introduced his musicians: "Well over here, standing here, is Boz Boorer... standing here (knocks with finger on Solomon's cello, bends closer as if listening into it) there, Solomon Walker... standing here (knocks with finger on the bass drum) is Matt Walker... Jesse Tobias... Gustavo Manzur... and I have absolutely no idea who I am... no idea..." He changed lines in "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself" to "in your silly career" and "for which you must allow, you must!". During the noisy outro to "How Soon Is Now?" he went backstage to change into a fresh shirt, and when he came back after the song he told the audience "I can't believe you're still here! Doesn't make sense!"
As the end was approaching, Morrissey thanked the crowd for putting up with him "...in light of 29 cancellations on this tour, I thank you for sticking with me!" After "Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice", as the band was getting ready to launch into the planned "I'm OK By Myself", Morrissey just waved his musicians off the stage, pulling Jesse by his guitar. Fans got worried, but Morrissey and co. finally managed to come back for the encore. The singer shook a few hands, as usual, and there didn't seem to be anything wrong. As parting words he asked "Is this over, or is it just beginning?" before going into "First Of The Gang To Die".
It was soon obvious that Morrissey's heart was not into that final song. He looked like he wanted to mess around with the crowd, sang "la-la-la"s, told someone "me! you!" while successively pointing at them and the stage. He finally stopped singing and concentrated on pulling some female fan on stage despite security trying to stop it happening. He managed to get the upper hand and as he hugged the fan, told her "this is your stage!" At this point more fans took advantage of the busy security to get up there as well. For a brief time it looked like the situation would degenerate, but it didn't. Morrissey returned to his singing, took a fan sign and waved his around for a bit, until more fans started rushing the stage all at once. After they were dealt with, Morrissey sang "very nice t-shirt!" while pointing at someone wearing a New York Dolls t-shirt. He playfully said "me?" as a bunch of hands extended his way, begging for handshakes. Over the final bars of the song he said something like "that was a great song!". Even at this point more fans made it on stage. Morrissey dealt with it all in a relaxed matter (although some people said he looked angry), until he finally fled backstage.
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