30 April 2006|
The Sage Gateshead, Gateshead
First Of The Gang To DieThis gig was possibly the worst one of this part of the tour. Morrissey did think so (see quote at the bottom of this page) and so did a good number of fans. The venue's sound was not the best, and the first few rows were reserved for staff and friends, many of them non-fans, which dampen the energy and ambience. There was more enthusiasm in the back rows than in the front ones. Security was also very brutal and a few fans attempting to make it on stage were violently dealt with. All this gradually demotivated Morrissey and he didn't return to perform the planned encore (read further for details).
The setlist was originally brought back to the tour standard 18 songs by the reintroduction of "My Life Is A Succession Of People Saying Goodbye", but with the scheduled encore of "Irish Blood, English Heart" not being performed, the Gateshead crowd was still treated to a 17-song setlist.
Throughout the evening Morrissey chatted with the audience much less than he usually did at this point in time. He also didn't throw any of the shirts he wore throughout the evening into the audience. His impatience with the crowd's lack of enthusiasm started very early in the show when he asked "You're not going to sit all night, are you? Stand, stand! Stand or leave!" Soon after he reiterated "I hope the venue is not too posh for you... please, don't feel inhibited". He also had his customary self-depreciatory comment about the chart performance of his most recent album "Ringleader Of The Tormentors": "Our new album has already been deleted!".
There was a bad start on "Girlfriend In A Coma" and after a few bars Morrissey stopped the band and said "This is a great song, you need to hear it the best it can be played". The band started it again and this time they had it right. After the song Morrissey cryptically said "You aren't supposed to like songs like that!" which was followed by something about the fans being weird. Before "Reader Meet Author" Morrissey had his customary complaint about the fans' lack of appreciation of the "Southpaw Grammar" album (from which this song comes): "This is from the album you refuse to buy... for some reason..."
When came time to introduce his musicians, Morrissey started "Say hello to Boz Boorer..." The crowd cheered so Morrissey said "No, say hello!" The crowd shouted hello so he continued "Say hello to Gary Day... to Matt Walker... to Jesse Tobias... to Michael Farrell..." The submissive audience was thanked with a "Very nice!" Morrissey took the microphone up to drummer Matt and said "Would you like to say anything?" which was replied in the negative, so he asked the same to Michael Farrell. Morrissey then ended the introduction with "And of course somebody had to be Morrissey so I volunteered... I'm regretting it now..."
Besides the above Morrissey introduced "The Youngest Was The Most Loved" as "...out new single", had comments aboug TV soap Emmerdale, Rooney's foot ("It's a shame about Rooneys foot, I could place my foot right where the sun doesn't shine") and had his customary chit-chat with his favourite fan Julia Riley. He asked her how she was and whether or not she was eating properly. Her reply was "Not really" which prompted Morrissey to ask "Are you sure?".
As elsewhere on this tour "Trouble Loves Me" was preceded by a few bars of a well-known local song. In Gateshead it was an unidentified classical piano piece. While it was being played by Michael on the keyboard, Morrissey stood, listened and said "Very nice!" The sound went off for the first half of "My Life Is A Succession Of People Saying Goodbye", which certainly added to Morrissey's frustration. The following number on the setlist, future b-side "Ganglord" was introduced as "...a new song" which had the audience cheering and Morrissey reply "Yeah? For all you know it could be crap!"
After main set closer "How Soon Is Now?" Morrissey said goodbye and he and the band walked off stage as they always did at this point into the show. The crowd went silent and the cheering for the encore was slow to build up. So the lights went on and the outro music started being played, signaling the end of the show. This stirred the audience into life. They booed and vocally manifested their disappointment, but it was too late. Despite having enjoyed the show up to this point, this left a bad taste in the mouth for many.
Do you have information about this concert? Or do you own an uncirculated recording of it? If yes please contribute and get credited.
Morrissey, in a statement to the True To You website in September 2006: "Throughout the 70 dates (...) the worst night, I think, was Gateshead, and this was because of the venue's policy to give the first two rows over to its staff - and not to the public. This quite obviously means that the people in the first two rows aren't terribly excited, but take their place anyway, and without much enthusiasm. It was unsettling for me to sing to people who were chatting amongst themselves and looking away and knitting sweaters whilst I yelped my guts out. I think the Sage should ditch this policy. But who am I?".