Click on date for concert information:
The tour in support of Morrissey's "Years Of Refusal" album started off on a bad note. Morrissey had to cancel the first four dates in Florida, then after one show in Myrtle Beach during which he struggled with his voice and had to shorten the setlist by three songs, he cancelled two more. The final concert of this leg also ended up being cancelled. On the positive side, there were great shows in between.
Musicians: Boz Boorer (guitars, clarinet), Jesse Tobias (guitars), Matt Walker (drums), Solomon Walker (bass) and Kristopher Pooley (keyboards, accordion and more). Morrissey played tambourine on a few songs.
The bass drum had on its skin the spangly butterfly from the baby's head on the "Years Of Refusal" album artwork.
When the first batch of shirts sold out, they were reprinted without the cancelled Florida dates listed on them.
Videos, between opening act's and Morrissey's sets:
Morrissey walked on stage at the end of an instrumental piano version of Nina Simone's "You'll Never Walk Alone".
After the show, fans exited the venue to Frank Sinatra's "That's Life".
There was no backdrop at the Carnegie Hall in New York City.
It's no surprise that the newest album "Years Of Refusal" was the most represented. Some of the songs on it were introduced on this tour, while others had already been introduced on the recent "Greatest Hits" tour. "Black Cloud", "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris", "Something Is Squeezing My Skull", "I'm OK By Myself" and "Sorry Doesn't Help" were played every night, or almost. "When Last I Spoke To Carol" was played every night after its live introduction halfway into this leg. "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell" and "Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed" were semi-regulars, one would generally be on the setlist when the other was not. "That's How People Grow Up" was played now and then, about once every 3-4 shows on average. "All You Need Is Me" was played twice at the beginning of the tour, then dropped. "It's Not Your Birthday Anymore" was attempted once in Washington, but Morrissey was probably not happy with the way it turned out because it hasn't been played since. Washington was also the only audience treated to the cover of the Buzzcocks' "You Say You Don't Love Me". However in the latter case the song had been done before by Morrissey.
Going backwards chronologically, the only song from 2006's "Ringleader Of The Tormentors" to make it on a setlist was "Life Is A Pigsty", and it happened only twice at the very beginning of the tour, then once again once Morrissey reached the Midwest. "You Are The Quarry" from 2004 was surprisingly well represented. Each of the following songs was done on most dates, if not all: "How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?", "Let Me Kiss You", "Irish Blood, English Heart", "First Of The Gang To Die" (the standard encore) and "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores".
"Best Friend On The Payroll" was the honorary representative of the recently remastered and expanded edition of "Southpaw Grammar". The song had never been played before 2009. It was done here on most dates. "Vauxhall & I" supplied regular "Billy Budd" and part-timer "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself?". The other regulars from Morrissey's early solo years were "Seasick, Yet Still Docked" and "The Loop". "Sister, I'm A Poet" was played once in Myrtle Beach then dropped.
The Smiths catalogue supplied the previously heard "Ask", "How Soon Is Now?" and "Death Of A Disco Dancer", as well as the newly introduced "This Charming Man" and "I Keep Mine Hidden". "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others" was introduced 2/3 into the leg and remained a regular thereafter. "Girlfriend In A Coma" was played twice only at the end of this leg.
Here is the number of times each song was performed on this leg, in descending order of frequency. The total number of concerts here is 26.
Ask - 26
Click here for more tour statistics.
Morrissey tends to improvise lyric changes in older numbers more often than in newer ones. So it's no surprise that the songs most transformed on these dates were "Ask" and "How Soon Is Now?". A new change in the latter classic was the one to "I am the son, the son and heir". This would usually be heard on the second occurrence of the line, but also sometimes on the first. The first occurrence of the line "of a shyness that is criminally vulgar" was rarely altered, but the second occurrence was usually changed to "...that is crippling and vulgar". The change of both occurrences of "how can you say, I go about things the wrong way" to "how can you say, I live my life the wrong way" was now done almost every night. In a few instances, Morrissey even sang the mixed "how can you say, I go about life the wrong way". He usually replaced "you could meet somebody who really loves you" with "you could meet somebody who can even stand you", and on a few occasions, "you could meet somebody who even likes you". He usually extended the line "so you go on your own and you leave on your own" with a shout of "oh what a big surprise!". The change to "When you say it's gonna happen now, now! well, when exactly do you mean?" was done most of the time. Morrissey stopped doing the earlier standard change to "see I've already waited too look and look at this face! all my hope is gone", as he replaced it with "see I've already waited too look and most of my life has gone". The studio version's final verse was still excluded from the live arrangement.
The other big transformation was with "Ask". In the song's first verse and its repeat, Morrissey alternated between "from doing all the things in life that you like to" and "from doing all the things in life that you want to". In the second verse he sang "from being all the things in life that you want to" on most nights, but also sometimes ended this with "...you must be", "...you like to" or "...you have to". Just as he did in the Smiths days he replaced the second occurrence of "nature is a language, can't you read" with "nature is a language, can anybody read" on most nights. The recent standard change to "it's the bomb, the nuclear bomb that will bring us together" was only done here a few times. Morrissey then started improvising with that line, and after few shows it settled on "if it's not love, then it's military might, it's macho military might that will bring us together". Now and then he would follow this with shouts of "take your pick!" or "you choose!". Other times he would sing variations on "so by the way, ask me, ask me, ask me" or "so before then, ask me, ask me, ask me".
The newly introduced "This Charming Man", "I Keep Mine Hidden" and "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others" were more transformed musically than lyrically, as they were all given a pub-rocky sound and "This Charming Man" was stripped of its jangle line. The only change in the latter number was the semi-regular one to "
The most interesting new lyric in "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others" was its last verse. The song had only been done once by Morrissey with the Smiths and at the time he had added a new verse not found in the studio version (see here). Resurrecting it more than 20 years later, he playfully changed this new verse to "On the shop floor there's a calendar, and it's pointing out to you, something that you never knew". It must be said that Morrissey dropped the song's second verse and chorus (the 'Anthony and Cleopatra' one), something he hadn't done during the Smiths days. The only other change in that song was the minor one to "there is just one concern, and I have
In the only performance of "Sister, I'm A Poet" Morrissey still changed "sister I'm a poet" to "brother I'm a poet". The crowd favourite "The Loop" was kept to its original form. Morrissey only changed "when you're bored" to "if you're bored", as he always does. "Seasick, Yet Still Docked" was also quite faithful to the original. There were changes made in "Billy Budd", but no surprise. Morrissey usually changed the second occurrence of "so you think that you should" to "do you think you even could", although for a short stretch he experimented with the line and came up with very awkward-sounding variations on "if you could do you think that you should". The "12 years on" line was almost always changed to "30 years on". On a few dates Morrissey sang the alternate "So what! they turned me down", but most of the time he stuck with the original line. Then during the final week of this leg he came up with the new "Thank Christ! they turned me down".
In "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself" Morrissey sometimes replaced "some men here" with "nice men here". The line "They have a special interest in your career" was sometimes added an adjective, such as "...your lovely career", "...your funny career" or "...your strange career". The previously heard "what do you do, anyway!" was still done now and then, but Morrissey also sang "what do you do, be honest!" on a few occasions. The debuting "Best Friend On The Payroll" was originally done quite faithfully. Then Morrissey started changing the second consecutive occurrence of the line "It's not gonna work out" to "This is not gonna work out" or "It's just not gonna work out", and near the end of the song, to "How the hell can it work out".
Morrissey either made very little, or many changes in "First Of The Gang To Die", depending on how one wants to see it. The song was the standard encore and on most nights Morrissey messed it up completely as he was too busy following the stuggle between security and the fans who were trying to get on stage. Instead of changing the words, he would often just mumble or make funny sounds, or shout words of encouragement to the brave ones in front of him. Throughout the mess a few changes were heard more than once, such as "until you've dragged me down to the reservoirs" or "we are the pretty/very honest thieves". On a few dates Morrissey replaced one or two verses of the song with lines from Big Dee Irwin's "Swinging On A Star".
After returning to the original form of "Irish Blood, English Heart", Morrissey started making changes in it again. The most common one was the one to "you can see me standing by the flag not feeling shameful...", it was done about half the time. It was sometimes followed with the more unambiguous "never racist or partial". Contrary to his last visit to the USA, he didn't need to sing "I've been dreaming of a time when Americans are sick to death of Republicans" anymore. On a few occasions he sang "I will die with both of my legs untied". Every time he did the song he would add to its outro an improvised and undecipherable series of shouts (ed notes: has anyone ever been able to decipher anything?).
Morrissey now always started "Let Me Kiss You" by singing "There's a place in the sun for anyone who has the nerve to chase one". He sometimes extended a line to "excuse me would you let me cry on your shoulder". He still often changed a line to "you'll try anyone twice", but not always. Of course he still always ended the song by ripping his shirt off and throwing it into the crowd following the line "and you see someone you physically despise". In "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores", the change to "say a quick prayer 'cause he's still there" was the only common one. On a few occasions Morrissey sang "they who wish to crush you". In "How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?" he often added emphasis to a few lines by singing "she told me she loved me, me!", "he says he wants to befriend me, me!" or "why? because you wear a uniform". The change to "everybody look, see pain and run away" was rarely done anymore. A new change introduced near the end of this leg was the one to "I would never be you, officer".
At the end of the epic "Life Is A Pigsty" Morrissey still replaced "I only live for you" with "I have lived only for you", "I'm falling in love again" with "I am in love again" and "but I'm still the same underneath" with "how come I'm still the same underneath". He reintroduced "even now, yes now". The song did not segue into "How Soon Is Now?" as it had done so often on the previous tours. In "That's How People Grow Up" Morrissey usually made the very minor changes from "someone who does not exist" to "somebody who does not exist", and from "someone's sweetie" to "somebody's sweetie". On the same theme, he sometimes sang "somebody on their death bed said". There was no surprise in the few performances of "All You Need Is Me". Morrissey still sang "you roll your eyes up to the skies and pretend that you're horrified" and "all you can do is stand there and complain about me". For the benefit of the American public, he returned to the studio version's original "I was a small fat child in a welfare house".
Of the material from the newest album, the most interesting changes were found in "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris". The line "I travel all over the place" was constantly changed to something else. Variations heard include "I skate all over the place", "I figure skate all over the place", "I scoot all over the place", "I fall all over the place", "I jog all over the place" and "I gab all over the place". Now and then Morrissey also sang "in the absence of any kind of touch". In "Something Is Squeezing My Skull" he originally alternated between "would you peel it back and bite me" and "when you peel it back and bite me". Then for most of the tour he sang "somebody peel it back and bite me". Only near the end did he change this again, this time to "for God's sake peel it back and bite me". On the first half of this leg he reversed "lithium" and "tamazepan", but then returned to the original order for the latter half.
The only change left in "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell" was the one to "look at me I'm a savage beast". Morrissey struggled with the earlier performances of "Sorry Doesn't Help". He would miss lines or improvise changes that he didn't stick to. The only constant change left was the one from "you lied about the lies that you told" to "you lied about the lies that you lied about", which sometimes also took the form of "you lied and then you lied about your lies". Near the end Morrissey would sometimes morph those two changes to the more busy "you lied and then you lied about the lies that you lied about". Half the time he ended up reversing the lines "sorry will not bring my teen years back to me" and "sorry will not bring my love into my arms".
"Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed" and "Black Cloud" were quite faithful to their original arrangements. In the former Morrissey sometimes sang "we're gonna come to you, we're gonna run to you" and in the latter he usually sang "and I can sink even lower than usual". He made a few changes in the unique live performance of "It's Not Your Birthday Anymore", the most significant being "since it cannot be given well then it must be taken". In "When Last I Spoke To Carol" he usually sang "along life's narrow ledge", "across this ugly face of mine" and replaced "something I always knew" with "something I still know" or "one thing I still know". They were no significant or regular changes made in "I'm OK By Myself". Besides the usual lyric changes in the Buzzcocks cover "You Say You Don't Love Me" Morrissey also sang "I don't want to live in a dream, I want to be real", and more interestingly "the word entails a few things I would be guilty of".
A bootleg DVD of the Philadelphia show was put together by fan FWD, using high definition video clips found here and there on the internet. The audio is a mix of an audio-only audience recording and the footage's original sound. The result is surprisingly good considering the source material. The DVD features the near-complete set. Click on date for more info.
The same was done by FWD for Morrissey's appearance at the Coachella festival. In this case the footage is a mix of webcast footage, big screen footage as filmed by people in the crowd, and the usual stage footage shot from the crowd. The audio is a mix of the webcast audio and an audience recording. Click on date for more details.
Good footage of the near-complete New York Carnegie Hall show was organised as a chronological playlist and put up on Y! video. View here. Fan FWD had the brilliant idea of capturing all that footage and creating a DVD with it.
Besides the above, two souvenir DVDs of this leg of the Tour Of Refusal were put together by fan and collector FWD, using HD footage found on Youtube. "Nights Of Refusal volume 1" features footage from the shows ranging from Myrtle Beach to Columbus, while "Nights Of Refusal volume 2" features footage from the shows ranging from Milwaukee to the final date in Indio. The latter compilation actually features the complete Coachella festival montage mentioned above.
Fortunately for collectors of rarities, a recording of the Washington show has made it to the network of Morrissey bootleg traders. That date is very much sought after for Morrissey's only ever live performance of "It's Not Your Birthday Anymore" and also partially for the only 2009 performance of the cover of the Buzzcocks' "You Say You Don't Love Me". Collectors in search of the only 2009 performance of "Sister I'm A Poet" will have to put in extra efforts to find the yet-to-be-circulated audience recording of the Myrtle Beach show.
The only professional audio out there was ripped from the video-webcast of Morrissey's appearance at the Coachella festival. However there are quite a few interesting alternatives found in excellent audience recordings of New York-Bowery, Boston and St. Louis. Collectors interested in more should be able to get their hands on good to average sounding recordings of Richmond, Washington, Chicago, Houston and Coachella festival. Audience recordings of Myrtle Beach, Durham, Montclair, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Philadelphia, New York-Webster Hall, New York-Carnegie Hall, Dallas, Austin, El Paso and Albuquerque are out there, but have yet to make it to wide circulation. Sets are found on the internet for Montclair and Pittsburgh, but these are just audio ripped from Youtube videos.