17 September 2002|
Royal Albert Hall, London, UK
I Want The One I Can't HaveThe first of two consecutive dates at the Royal Albert Hall was a success. Morrissey's British fans had been expecting their idol for some time now and they were not disappointed with his performance, although some were disappointed by the sound and the fact that the venue was a seated one designed for classical concerts. Morrissey was in great spirits, very loquacious and playful with his musicians and the people in the audience. Although security was tight, some fans managed to successfully make it on stage, particularly during the encore.
There were no surprises in the setlist. The Londoners were given the same set the Americans had just been treated to, which lacked "November Spawned A Monster" but included the recently added "Irish Blood, English Heart".
As he came on stage Morrissey greeted his fans by saying "Good evening Kensington!... or maybe this is Islington, who knows... We've come to give you a sound thrashing... hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello..." In set opener "I Want The One I Can't Have" he illustrated the line "these are riches of the poor" by grabbing his crotch and pectorals. After the song he extended his greeting with the words "Thank you friends... welcome to an evening of poetry set to music and... some choreography and... lots of booing probably..." The latter comment actually drew some boos from the audience. Looking uncomfortable Morrissey then turned to his musicians who were not yet ready to go into the next planned song and said "Today?"
After "Hairdresser On Fire" Morrissey thanked the loudly appreciative audience and added "And I must also thank you for buying your tickets so quickly... so you see, so you see, so you see... so you see we don't need the Observer after all..." The latter comment was a reference to a recently published interview. After "Suedehead"'s opening line "why do you come here?" Morrissey added "It's just a question, you don't need to answer it..." At the end of his vocal part in the latter number he pointed at someone in the audience and said "We know who you are."
"First Of The Gang To Die" was introduced with "Just to prove that we... (at this point Alain interrupted Morrissey by saying what the singer was going to say) What was that? Oh yeah, that we can write songs... No just to prove that we can write new songs... this song is about some of our friends back in... (people shout incorrect answers) No... no... Any more guesses?... No, back in (points at throat) Los Hang-eles... and this song is called 'The First Of The Gang To Die'." Halfway into the song he pointed at fans in the front row and, looking surprised, said "They know the words, incredible!"
Following the latter number Morrissey said "Thank you for listening so intently... which deserves a scream of course... don't know who'd do it..." He then introduced "Jack The Ripper" with the line "If you can imagine that through some fatuous error in life you find yourself in Whitechapel and... and the year just happens to be 1888 and... somebody taps you on the knee... or he thinks it's your knee and you turn around and you're confronted... yes, you're confronted with the thoughts of Jack the Ripper..."
After "Jack The Ripper" Morrissey said "I hope you're not, I hope you're not too intim-intimidated by the building... I'm so intimidated that I can't even say intimidated! (giggles) Oh dear... It's a very nice intimidating place isn't it? No? Alright, I was wrong..." He then announced the next planned number: "This song is about... is about no one you know, and it's called 'I Like You'... (answers to some shout in a funny voice) Say what?... It's called 'I Like You'... still called 'I Like You'..." After the song Morrissey rewarded the audience's enthusiasm with the comment "You are showing great stamina..."
New composition "Mexico" was introduced with "We have written some new songs because, as you know, we're desperate to break into the British pop scene (audience laughs)... because... the British pop industry is such a wonderful place to be, its charts are fantastic, we all love music... and, this is one of our efforts. Somebody smiled and broke the mood... it's called 'Mexico'!" After the song Morrissey thanked the audience with the self-deprecating comment "Thank you you're very polite of course..." and introduced the next song with "This song takes me to a new octave and... it's called 'Sister I'm A Poet'." Over the opening bars of the latter number he added "...which is true Julia, it's true..."
After "Sister I'm A Poet" Morrissey thanked the audience and when he was thanked back he added "Oh yes, but thank you... (replies to someone) For who? For who? What did you say? I heard you!" Before "Everyday Is Like Sunday" he asked a few times "Do you know where you are? Do you know where are you? Do you know what you're doing?"
Following "Everyday Is Like Sunday", as had become customary on the recent American leg of the tour, Morrissey proceeded with the introduction of his musicians: "As some of you know last year I spent some time in a psychiatric unit and err... while I was there I met four fantastic musicians whom I'd like to introduce. Hither is Boz... and hither is Gary... and hither is Deano... and (in a deep American accent) over yonder is Alain... and my name is Stinky Turner! And err... this is a new song and err... I've said too many 'and err's haven't I? This is a new song and it's a simple fact of life... (some fan shouts the title) the boy knows, the boy should have a microphone, 'The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores'."
The latter new composition got a lukewarm reception and this prompted Morrissey to say "Don't worry if we play that one again, we'll bring an applause machine." The crowd reacted and Morrissey jokingly roared back at them. Then to a fan who shouted "We love it!", he replied "What? That's right, just spit your guts out boy! Say it tonight!" The vegetarian anthem "Meat Is Murder" was then introduced with the line "I've said this before but... it's only a matter of time, it's only a matter of time... you're a good person, you're a kind person, you will become vegetarian..." After the song Morrissey humourously commented "You know, Bacharach David would have just shit to write that song..."
"Irish Blood, English Heart" was introduced as "...a autobiography in four gentle words... (someone shouts a title) no my friend, try again... 'Irish Blood, English Heart'." Then "Late Night Maudlin Street" was dedicated to actress Katrin Cartlidge: "I'd like to dedicate this next song to... I don't know if I'm pronouncing her name rightly, correctly but... does anybody know Katrin Cartlidge? Yes... who died recently and... I found this really shocking because I thought she was a great person and a fantastic actor so... she had a very sudden death and I'd like to dedicate this song to her..."
After the slow and somewhat lengthy but still generally well appreciated "Late Night, Maudlin Street" someone in the balcony shouted for Morrissey to "liven it up a bit!", or something to that effect, and the object of the heckling replied "I have... that's why I'm standing here!" When he returned to the stage for the encore, Morrissey's final significant words were "I send you my very sincere thanks and... you have my heart and... I only pray that either God, or Oscar Wilde, or Johnny Thunders, or Nico, or Klaus Nomi, I only hope they bless you..." At the end of the final song the man sent his pink shirt flying into the crowd. The struggle for bits of it went on until most of the fans had left the venue.
Also out there are 4 different fanmade audio recordings, all featuring the complete concert. One is credited to Soundsville International and sounds reasonably good, but muffled. Of the three other ones (all uncredited) only one sounds better than the latter. The other two sound inferior, they are very likely audio rips from one or another of the video recordings mentioned above. One of the audio recordings is often seen on the internet with fanmade artwork under the titles "Royal Albert Hall 17/09/2002" or "Maudlin Katrin".
Do you have information about this concert? Or do you own an uncirculated recording of it? If yes please contribute and get credited.