18 December 2004|
Earls Court, London
How Soon Is Now?This was another installment in a series of concerts in big and impersonal venues that hadn't sold out. However this show went down slightly better than the past few ones. The crowd was very wild and energetic. Morrissey was faultless but looked a bit tired and very emotional. He wore his priest outfit for the first few songs and later changed into various shirts. One of them ended up in the audience after having been used to wipe the sweat off Morrissey's body. The stage was a good distance from the front rows, so no one made it on stage. The setlist was the same as on the one from the previous night in Brighton.
At the end of the usual "Imperfect List" walk-on music Morrissey and his musicians entered stage, walked up to the front and bowed, arms around each others shoulders. As a greeting to the audience Morrissey then self-deprecatingly quoted from his song "Suedehead" and asked "Why do you come here?" After set opener "How Soon Is Now?" he almost quoted from another one of his early solo songs, this time "Piccadilly Palare" ('Why do you smile when you think about Earls Court?'): "Good evening to you Earls Court... I'm smiling because I'm in Earls Court... What does that mean?" After "First Of The Gang To Die" he said "Thank you for coming here, thank you for being you..." then asked his favourite fan "Julia you're safe? Me too... for now..."
Early into "November Spawned A Monster" someone tried to make it on stage, failed, but was rewarded by Morrissey telling him "God bless you" between two lines. After the song the crowd broke into a chant of Morrissey's name and the man replied back with "It's a beautiful name!... and you sing it so well... think about it..." After "Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice" he told the audience "Very kind of you, thank you" then explained "That song was called 'Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice'... which speaks for itself really... it could be you!" Following the Smiths classic "Bigmouth Strikes Again" Morrissey said "Yes, the past is a strange place..." He then asked someone "What was that friend?..." and introduced the next planned number with the direct "This song is called 'I Like You'."
Following the latter number Morrissey jokingly announced "That's our new single in Idaho and it's called 'I Like You'... and it's from an album called... oh, doesn't matter..." Over the opening notes to "Redondo Beach" he replied to someone's Christmas wishes with "I find Christmas very difficult..." After the song he jokingly said "That was a song made famous by... Pat Benetar... or was it Patti Smith? I really don't know... yes I do!" Then "Let Me Kiss You" was introduced with shouts of "Let me! Let me!" After the song Morrissey introduced his musicians: "I think you'll agree that as a band, they're really not that bad. Please say hello to the maestro, Boz Boorer... the two and only, Gary Day... the mighty Deano... to a man with eight new stitches in his head, Jesse Tobias... to a man with a musical part, Mikey V Farrell... and I am S-I-Q-U-E, sick!"
The crowd favourite "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" was bitingly introduced with "In my life I was once associated with three incredibly miserable people... however, some decent songs though..." After the song Morrissey asked "Do you think you'll actually survive Christmas?" While he went backstage after "The More You Ignore Me ,The Closer I Get" to change into a fresh shirt, the crowd broke into another chant of his name. When he returned to the microphone he acknowledged it and said "It's a beautiful name but just look where it's been, tsk-tsk-tsk-tsk..."
Morrissey's latest single "I Have Forgiven Jesus" was introduced with the line "And of course this week we have released a charity single... the charity is me... and, I know it isn't mutual but... I have forgiven Jesus..." The following planned number was introduced with "So, we've got rid of Blunkett... now let's get rid of Blair... 'The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores'." Morrissey returned to the subject of Christmas once more when he introduced "Shoplifters Of The World Unite": "And you have, I trust, finished your Christmas shoplifting? This is what people do! I do..."
Before going "Irish Blood, English Heart" Morrissey cryptically said "So you see... I can't be wrong about everything. I can't be, it's impossible!" When he and the band returned to the stage for the encore, as they had done at the very beginning of the show, they formed a line at the front and bowed. Morrissey then had more ominous words for the audience which hinted at something, but nothing precise: "You've been an old sea dog's dream of an ideal audience... and whereas there is goodbye and there is farewell, this is farewell..." At the end of this vocal part in the encore he also asked "Don't forget me, I love you, goodbye!". Fans in the front rows could see that he was very emotional while saying these words and that his eyes were filling up with tears.
A quite good audio-only audience recording of the complete set is also out there for collectors (recorder: Steve from Soundsville International). This is found on compact discs and in digital format on the internet, sometimes under the title "Earls Court 2004". A second audience recording is rumoured, but this could simply be the audio from one of the video recordings mentioned above.
Do you have information about this concert? Or do you own an uncirculated recording of it? If yes please contribute and get credited.