12 November 2004|
Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles, CA
How Soon Is Now?This was an excellent concert. Morrissey was in the best of moods, and so was the crowd. Only one or two fans made it on stage, despite many attempts, and they did during the encore. Morrissey was again dressed in his priest outfit. He kept it on for the whole main set and returned with a different shirt for each of the three encores. Each time he changed into a fresh one he threw the other one into the crowd after using it to wipe his chest and down the front of his trousers. Instead of the usual Jobriath or New York Dolls t-shirts the musicians all wore shirts with the number '278' on the front and '1984' on the back. No official explanation was given for these numbers, but a shop called Johnson's Motors sold similar shirts based on a motorcycle race Morrissey idol Steve McQueen participated in 40 years earlier (1964). '278' was McQueen's number in the race.
Morrissey loved playing his adopted hometown and he treated it to a record 20-song setlist. This was one more song than on the previous night at the same venue, and 2 or 3 more than the tour average. The content was very similar, but "The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get" was reinstated and the cover of "Redondo Beach", which had been debuted the night before, was replaced with another live debut, "I'm Playing Easy To Get". The latter song was never to be recorded by Morrissey for release, and to the day these lines are written, it was never done live again (except for a radio session for the BBC a few weeks later).
Before Morrissey took the stage his manager Jed Weitzman, dressed in a sailor outfit, came on and mopped the floor. The whole thing was obviously staged but the meaning of it, if there was one, escaped everyone. When Morrissey came on he greeted the audience with "Los Angeles, you are too hot!", a line originally heard at the beginning of the studio version of "First Of The Gang To Die". In set opener "How Soon Is Now?" he changed a line to "a shyness that is crippling and vulgar", a lyric alteration that would become more common on the Tour Of The Tormentors MMVI. After the song he simply said "Well..."
"November Spawned A Monster" was introduced with the words "Nice to see you all again... and this is November and I am a monster, so..." Then "Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice" was introduced with "So this evening really is... it really is the last rites, and... no matter what is said, and no matter who says it, don't make fun of daddy's voice, please..." After the song Morrissey tried to introduce the next planned number and tested the audience's patience by discussing extensively with his favourite fan: "So you've all been down to the import section at Tower Records... well I have, and... Julia? Julia? How are you today? You alright? Sure? Do you need anything? Do you need anything? Julia, do you need anything? (she says she needs him to be very happy) Julia! You're dreaming! You're dreaming... This is the song called 'For God's Sake Have You Not Realised All These Years You Are The Quarry' and it's called, it's called... it's called 'I Like You'... You sure you're alright Julia? Are you okay? Are you okay? Well I'm not... So this is from 'You Are The Quarry' and it's called, it's called 'I Like You'..."
In the latter number Morrissey changed a line to "no one I ever knew, or have spoken to resembles me". The Smiths classic "Bigmouth Strikes Again" was introduced with the line "And of course, as some of you know, the trouble with having a criminal past, is that you're never allowed to forget it and you can never escape it, and by Jesus! here it comes now!". Newest single "Let Me Kiss You" was introduced with "I'm honoured beyond words to have had Nancy Sinatra here tonight to open and... I won't say erm anymore but, err, she's a beautiful person and she gave me this song..." Actually the song was Morrissey's and she had just released her version of it alongside his.
After "Let Me Kiss You" Morrissey introduced his musicians: "They used to be happy, they used to be professional, they used to have sex lives... but now they work with me. Would you please say hello to Boz Boorer... would you please say hello to Gary Day... and to the mighty Deano... to a miracle of modern science, Jesse Tobias... and to a man who still has his own private parts, Mikey V Farrell... and I'm not really someone you'd want to know personally... believe me!"
Following "Munich Air Disaster 1958" Morrissey discussed the results of the recent American elections in which George W Bush was re-elected: "Now of course, of course we're all very very sorry to see that the menace is still in the White House (crowd boos)... How can things ever have become this bad, how? Please tell me... And the worse thing about him is that he didn't realise that he lost the war in Iraq, he's really lost it. And, as for four more years well, Jesus I can't stand five more minutes, I really can't..." After "Rubber Ring" he said "I know I said this last night but I would once again like to thank Steve Jones at 103.1 because it's... he plays lots of... me (giggles) but also he's been very generously spinning... he's been spinning the Attack releases: James Maker, Jobriath, Nancy Sinatra and... it's absolutely incredible to me, at the age of 35 to be (crowd reacts at the mention of his age)... to actually be able to listen to the radio and enjoy it, it's incredible! Believe me, believe me, it doesn't happen in England, it really doesn't!"
New composition "I'm Playing Easy To Get" was introduced with the long "I am, in everything except technical legal fact, a US citizen and (crowd cheers)... it's fascinating to me to have... three hometowns, one of which is Manch-fest - Manchester... one of which is Dublin... and one of which of course is Pittsburgh! - Los Angeles± and... Los Angeles, yeah and... this is a sweet little song about Los Angeles and it's called... it's called "I'm Playing Easy To Get". After the song Morrissey asked "Now what the hell was that song about? Does anybody know? Bla-bla-bla-bla-bla... No, it wasn't about that, try again..."
Morrissey then told someone "You wore that shirt last night! At least I had this dry-cleaned..." He saw another fan with a copy of Shelagh Delaney's "A Taste Of Honey" and commented "And yes I know Shelagh, wherever she goes, she's - wherever I go, she's right behind me. What? Sh-sh-sh... She's gonna make an incredible statement, I can feel it. (Morrissey listens to the fan explain how she was disappointed with a detail in an upcoming movie adaptation of the play) They left the... so they left the what in the movie? Eye patch? Oh, I was wrong..." After "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores" Morrissey asked the audience "Are you bored yet? Would you tell me, and be honest if you were... I think somebody on row F is bored..."
Morrissey made many lyric changes in "Now My Heart Is Full". Amongst others he sang the previously heard "just some rain-coated beautiful brothers", "Steven Patrick, raised to wait", "every jammy British poet" and the new "I was tired again so I cried again". After the song he told someone "Don't say that unless you mean it!... I'm very frail... and scared... no I'm not..." Besides the usual lyric changes in "The Never Played Symphonies" Morrissey also sang at the very end "Thank God the light fades".
Upcoming single "I Have Forgiven Jesus" was introduced with the line "And the reason why I sing is because it's the only thing in life that proves to me that I'm not nothing... Otherwise, metaphorically speaking, I'm screwed..." At some point into the song Morrissey turned his back, bent forward and almost mooned the crowd. After the song he joked "And for reason that didn't end up on the soundtrack of Shrek 2... I still don't understand why, really... As I said last night (gets interrupted by someone)... Gabba-gabba-gabba-gabba... Do you mind if I just say something? Well too bad because I've dried..."
After an extremely well received "Everyday Is Like Sunday" Morrissey asked himself "I don't know why everybody's staring at me, I really don't know... I'm becoming a bit self-conscious now..." In "You Know I Couldn't Last" he followed the line "The critics who cannot break you they somehow help to make you" with the comment "not really, just kidding..." Then the following line was changed to "The critics who cannot kill you, unwittingly they make you".
When Morrissey returned to the stage for the third encore he told someone from the staff "Max, lights!" as the audience roared in delight. His final words before the song that would end the show was "Thank you Los Angeles, you've made my heart and my trousers swell... May God bless you and whatever happens, please keep me in mind..." As soon as his vocal part was done at the end of that number Morrissey walked off stage while the band finished the song's extended outro.
Fortunately for collectors and fans who attended the show, an audio-only fanmade recording of the complete show is commonly found on bootleg compact discs and in digital format on the internet. The sound is a bit distorted, but clear and not too muffled.
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