14 December 2004|
How Soon Is Now?This concert was mentioned by Morrissey in 2006 as one of his favourites from the 2004 tour. However the experience was not so good for everyone in the audience. Morrissey's performance was excellent, but the venue - an arena - had a negative effect on the atmosphere of thw show. With the exception of the first few rows the crowd was overall rather subdued. No one made it on stage. Morrissey was less talkative than he had been earlier in the tour. He wore the priest outfit that he had been wearing on and off since Halloween. The setlist was the same as the one from Glasgow the previous night.
Morrissey's opening line as he picked up the microphone was "Birmingham, I am not worthy!" After set opener "How Soon Is Now?" he added "Welcome to a very costly emotional adventure... for me..." This might have been a reference to the fact that the gig hadn't sold out. "Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice" was introduced with the line "And my motto in life is: if you can't explain it, just accept it..." After the song Morrissey asked his favourite fan "Julia are you safe? You're safe... thank you that was called 'Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice'." He then introduced "Bigmouth Strikes Again" with "...and this song (undecipherable words) gabble-gabble-gabble..."
Following the latter number Morrissey said "I'd like to say hello, hello to Janice, I know you're there somewhere... Happy birthday Linda... God bless all of us, especially me..." The Janice in question was very likely BBC radio host Janice Long whose show Morrissey appeared on that week and Linda was probably his friend Linder Sterling. The crowd then chanted Morrissey's name and the man replied with a line from his song "Asleep": "sing to me..." Before his cover of Patti Smiths' "Redondo Beach" he said "Now, if you would indulge me..." After its performance he said "I know it's before your time but that song was called... (waits for audience to finish the line) Yeah, I am... and this song is called 'For God's Sake Let Me, Just Let Me, Let Me Kiss You'."
Before going into "Munich Air Disaster 1958" Morrissey proceeded with the customary introduction of the band: "They are the lights of my life and they were the original inspirations for the song 'The Slum Mums'. Would you please say hello to Boz Boorer... to the one and only, but never lonely, Gary Day... to the very mighty Deano... to a miracle of modern science, Jesse Tobias... and to a man with two musical parts, Mikey V Farrell... and I am two people..." Before going into "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" he enquired once more about his most dedicated fan's well being: "You okay Julia? You're safe? (she returns the question) Am I okay? Well Julia, time will prove everything..." After the song the audience chanted Morrissey's name again and once more the man replied with "sing to me, sing to me..."
Following "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get" Morrissey answered someone with "Yes, tell me..." then said "You may have spotted me on television recently... I do apologise..." After "Friday Mourning" he introduced his latest single "I Have Forgiven Jesus" by announcing its mid-week chart position: "And of course, the whole point really about the television appearances was - is!... well this morning we heard that our new single is #4 (crowd cheers)... however, don't get too excited because... I don't quite have my hands around the throat of Band Aid yet... but really if you're looking for a present, a Christmas present for an elderly relative, you might help the world by buying... (someone shouts something bad) No! Don't be silly... You might help the world by buying a second copy - that was horrible, wasn't it? too late now! but... - of this song..."
After "I Have Forgiven Jesus" the audience broke into another chant of Morrissey's name and this time the object of the chant simply sat on the floor and basked in it. The Smiths classic "Shoplifters Of The World Unite" was introduced with "Birmingham is very much like Manchester in... well, in the sense that wherever you go, wherever you stand, you're always only six feet away from a shoplifter." After the very well received "Irish Blood, English Heart" Morrissey thanked the audience and said "You're very gracious... Thank you for buying 'You Are The Quarry', it means a great deal, thank you..." His final words before going into encore "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" were again ominous ones: "Thank you Brummie you've been lovely... and farewell is a lovely sound, it really is..."
Collectors of audio bootlegs will be interested in a reasonably good audience recording of the complete concert, available from traders on compact discs or in digital format on the internet.
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