29 February 2000|
Beacon Theater, New York, NY
You're Gonna Need Someone On Your SideThis concert wasn't the best of the tour. The venue was a seated one and security was very tight. They forced fans to stay in their seats and this had a negative impact on the crowd's enthusiasm. Not to help things, the sound wasn't the best. Morrissey still gave an excellent performance.
Many changes were made to the setlist. "Billy Budd", "The Teachers Are Afraid Of The Pupils", "Break Up The Family", "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me" and "Shoplifters Of The World Unite" were replaced with "You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side", "Alma Matters", "Now My Heart Is Full", "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get" and an unexpected surprise, a cover of David Bowie's "Drive-In Saturday". Morrissey had never done the song before, and he would not do it again for another seven years.
However the show was still a memorable one, for a different reason: the live introduction of Morrissey's cover of David Bowie's "Drive-In Saturday". For many years after this it looked like this would be a one-time only event, until 2007 when the song was performed another handful of times. Besides this there were many changes brought to the setlist, in sequence and content. Part-timers "You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side", "Alma Matters", "Now My Heart Is Full" and "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get" returned while "Billy Budd", "The Teachers Are Afraid Of The Pupils", "Break Up The Family", "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me" and "Shoplifters Of The World Unite" were temporarily dropped.
Morrissey's opening line as he picked up the microphone was "Senors, senoras it's karaoke night!". After set opener "You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side" he greeted his fans again and introduced himself and the band as members of the New York Dolls: "Welcome to the Oscar Wilde Room in the Mercer Arts Center. My name is David, (pointing at his musicians one by one) this is Johnny, this is Sylvain, Arthur and Jerry... No really!... Fooled you!" Before going into "A Swallow On My Neck" he said "I think we're ready for the first... yeah..."
"Is It Really So Strange?" was introduced with the line "As some of you may know, I used to be the drummer in the Smiths, and... I think it was 16 years ago, we actually played in this building... this doesn't really mean much, except to say that... this was one of the songs that we probably didn't play..." After the song Morrissey told another story about the Smiths in New York. This time he talked about the band's American debut concert: "Another incredibly trivial story is that, the year previous to '84... the Smiths played in New York for the first time and of course, none of you were there, so you won't remember the fact that I walked down to the stage and I didn't have contact lenses in, and I kept walking, and I fell off the front of the stage before I'd even said hello! So what does that mean? Nothing really, except that I'm the only person who must have made their stage debut falling off the front of the stage without even ever saying hello! And I haven't looked back since! All forwards..."
After "Hairdresser On Fire" Morrissey had a private conversation with fanzine editor and front row regular Julia Riley: "Before we go any further, I'd like to say hello to Julia... Is this embarrassing? Can I ask you a question? Between you and I... how many concerts, gigs, shows, have you been to? (she answers 'Red Bank was 150') 150 Morrissey shows! Even I haven't been to that many! Julia, God bless you! (Turns to others) And you thought you were brave coming here tonight!". At the end of "Lost" Morrissey changed into a fresh shirt, disposed of the sweaty one into the audience and asked "I've changed my mind, can I have the shirt back?" He then asked someone "Do you know what Tesco's is? Do you know? Did you lose anything behind Tesco's? (crowd laughs) Why is that funny?".
Following "I Am Hated For Loving" someone was trying to say something so Morrissey asked him "Sorry, what was that?" and handed him the microphone. The fan shouted into it with a mock-angry voice "Steven, clean up your room or you can't have any!" A puzzled Morrissey replied "What does he mean? What does he mean? Clear your room, what does that mean? (guy shouts 'used to be a sweet boy'! and Morrissey replies, sounding annoyed)... very helpful!". After "Ouija Board, Ouija Board" he returned to the subject: "I suppose 'clear your room' is something that Kate Millet would say or Andrea Dworkin or something like that, is it? I've got it! I may be British but I've definitely got it... and I'll keep it too!".
After "Now My Heart Is Full" Morrissey decided to introduce his musicians: "I would now like to do something that really tedious groups in the '70s used to do... which is... introduce you to the boys in the band... Do you mind? Can you bear it? Julia, can you bear it? Julia, can I bear it? In the far corner, a man whose work has been spread over many fields, R'n'B, the wonderful, Boz Boorer!... On bass, the one and only, but never lonely, Gary Day... On drums, a man about who it is often been said, Spike Smith!... And right here, the lovely, Alain Whyte!... Now was that difficult?" Alain then introduced Morrissey "Ladies and gentleman, Morrissey! Let's hear it for him!".
After "November Spawned A Monster" Morrissey said "Boz is angry I think, Boz is angry..." despite him not looking angry. He then handed the microphone to someone in the audience who wanted to say something which turned out to be "Happy leap year!". Morrissey looked puzzled, repeated "Happy leap year?" then, looking unimpressed with the revelation, added "I'm leaving..." After "Boxers" he said "Now as you probably know, this night is being sponsored by MTV... no it isn't... it was a joke... not very funny, but still a joke..."
In "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get" Morrissey took many liberties with his lyrics. Besides a few common changes he sang "the more you abhor me, the closer I get", "I bear more grudges than senile British judges", "when you sleep I will creep into your bed like a bad debt that you can't pay but you'd rather not pay" and "somebody let me in, please now let me in (...) please squeeze me in (...) yeah it's always war (...) aah the closer I get, aaah I don't make much noise, aaah and I won't eat much food, but please squeeze me in..." After the song he said "you really don't need to cheer me thanking you, it doesn't really make sense, 'cause that means you're only cheering yourself... which is fair enough... cheer yourself..." He then proceeded to introduce the following planned number: "This song is incredibly complicated, it's called 'I Can Have Both'... Oh yeah, you'd know I suppose..." Over the end of the song he growled "What so funny?" and adlibbed "I can have both, I can have anything... I can have (?)..."
"Half A Person" was introduced with the line "This next song is about someone who is not really a full person and who could that be I've got no idea... Do we know? No, we don't know... No, you?". Someone who managed to get on stage during that song was greeted by Morrissey with a suave "hello!" The song was very loudly cheered, and for a long time, so Morrissey jumped in and cheered "Bravo! Bravo!", then asked "Julia, explain it... explain it..." As the opening notes to "Tomorrow" were heard he told someone "I paid you to say that..." Quite a few other fans made it on stage during the beginning of that song. They made Morrissey miss a few lines, but the singer reassured his fans by saying "I'm a professional I know what I'm doing..." "Meat Is Murder" was introduced with the speech "I'm not really somebody for pamphleteering, pamphleteering, pamphleteering, pamphlet hearing... but this song is for those of you who feel you have the godlike power to take away life..." Because this was the final song of the main set it ended with a single drum pounding like a dying hearbeat as Morrissey mimicked a dying animal on the stage floor.
Morrissey came back for the encore dressed in a New York Dolls shirt and said "I'm wearing this specially... You can't read it can you... Well, I did warn you this was karaoke night... so in this next song, which we'll leave you with, let's see how many mistakes you can count..." The band then launched into the cover of David Bowie's "Drive-In Saturday", a song they had never performed before. Morrissey took many liberties with the original words. The most notable changes were the one from "cursing at the Astronette" to "cursing at the internet" and from "When people stared in Jagger's eyes and scored" to "When people stared into David's eyes and scored". The crowd was probably expecting the usual closer from the Smiths catalogue and its reaction to the Bowie cover was a quiet one. Morrissey even remarked on it mid song by replacing two lines with "You don't really like this song do you? Do you? Do you?". He sang his goodbyes and, taking a gift from someone in the front rows, sang "Is this for me? Thank you!" The rest of the live changes can be read here.
An average sounding audience recording of the complete concert can be found on bootleg compact discs and in digital format on the internet (recorder: Hook). This is sometimes seen with artwork under the title "A Very Private Show". The audio from the video recording is also found on the internet, sometimes under the titles "Beacon Theater New York 29 Feb 2000", "Drive In Saturday" and "New York 2000".
Do you have information about this concert? Or do you own an uncirculated recording of it? If yes please contribute and get credited.