26 October 1997|
Bridges Auditorium, Claremont, CA
The Boy RacerThis concert was a very wild one, typical of Morrissey concerts in Southern California. Morrissey was in obvious great spirits, playful, very talkative and gave a very dramatic performance. Security was tight, almost violent. There was a barrier holding the audience at a good distance from the stage, so no one made it up to their idol.
There was only one minor change made to the setlist, but it turned out to be an historical one. Usual encore "Shoplifters Of The World Unite" was replaced with another Smiths classic, "The Queen Is Dead". This was the first ever live performance of the song by Morrissey without the Smiths, and it would not reappear on a Morrissey setlist for another ten years, presumably because the singer was not happy with this first performance.
Morrissey greeted the crowd with a shout of "Amigos!". Throughout the show he would thank the crowd in Spanish ("gracias!") more than once. This was the beginning of Morrissey acknowledging the importance of his Latin-American fanbase in California. In "Alma Matters", he changed one line to "It's my life to end my own way". After that song came Morrissey's first real greeting of the evening: "Thank you!... and welcome to the rock show!". Of course, being uncomfortable with rock clichés, he had to add "...that was a joke..." To keep up with the chronology, he changed one line in "Billy Budd" to "now it's 15 years on". He also sang "So what! they turned me down".
Morrissey made more lyric changes in "Roy's Keen" when he sang "Even when it's under your nose, you just can't smell it, can you? Well it's here right under your nose and you just can't smell it, can you?". More lines were changed in "Satan Rejected My Soul", to "He's seen this face around" and "You'll never see all the crap in life it's cost me!". Also, at the end of the song where he usually sings "pull me in" and "haul me in", he added variations such as "shove me in". Following "Reader Meet Author" he replied to some shout with his own "We try our best!".
Morrissey changed one line in "The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get" to "I bear more grudges than senile British judges". He had some difficulties singing that number because of fans pulling on him. He teased his audience after "Dagenham Dave" by asking "I suppose you have work tomorrow? That's quite sad really..." The Smiths classic "Paint A Vulgar Picture" was introduced with the line "I used to be in a group, and they threw me out.. they tried to get rid of me, and they succeeded... and..." There was a false start on "Speedway" which prompted Morrissey to say "Sorry... the battery's gone, just give us one minute..." But the problem was immediately solved so he quickly followed that with "don't give us a minute!". Besides the usual changes in the latter number, he brought back an old one rarely done anymore: "you won't smile until my ugly mouth gets shut good and proper".
The big surprise of the evening was the encore of "The Queen Is Dead" in place of the usual "Shoplifters Of The World Unite". The song had never been done live by Morrissey before so the fans went hysterical when they recognized the drum intro. As during the Smiths days, Morrissey skipped the second and third verses starting with "We could go for a walk where it's quiet and dry", but he made many unheard lyric changes, such as "Farewell to these marches, stuck like a pig between arches", "Her lowness with her head in a sling, I'm not sorry! It sounds like a wonderful thing", "When I was nine I never knew what drugs were!" and "We can go for a walk where it's quiet and dry and talk about silly things".
"Spring-Heeled Jim" and "Do Your Best And Don't Worry" were heard at soundcheck. The latter song would be included in the setlist starting the very next night. "Best Friend On The Payroll" was also rumoured to have been soundchecked.
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