23 January 2008|
London (UK), Roundhouse
Something Is Squeezing My SkullThe third show of Morrissey's 6-date residency at the Camden Roundhouse turned out to be the best one. Morrissey was again suffering from a sore throat, and this would cause the interruption/cancellation of the remaining dates of the residency, but on this one he was determined to make it through and finished the show without even skipping any song. The crowd was very lively, rowdy and rough, but it was all in good spirits. Some have attributed the energy of the audience to wise setlist changes.
The setlist saw the return of "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" which was being played here for the first time on this leg, and "Jack The Ripper" which was being played for the second time only. The epic "Life Is A Pigsty" was also added again. To make space for them "Billy Budd", "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell" and "Tomorrow" were temporarily dropped.
When he entered stage Morrissey strolled up to the microphone and said "I'd like to... if I may, I'd like to begin tonight with a famous historical quote from Mother Theresa... Don't let the bastards grind you down.." before breaking into newly appointed set opener "Something Is Squeezing My Skull". After the latter number he properly greeted the audience by saying "Thank you for coming back to Camden... I will sneeze all over you..." Morrissey's vocal troubles were very apparent in "I Just Want To See The Boy Happy". In live performances of that song at the time he usually slightly changed a line to "For my own life I never cared anything", but on this date he took this to "For my wretched life I never cared anything". He also slightly extended a line to "And I just want to - if I can! - I wanna see this boy happy".
After the latter number Morrisey said "This is the time you shout at something... it's that time of the night!" He added emphasis to a line in "Jack The Ripper" by singing "you don't agree, and yet! I don't hear you refuse..." and "you don't agree, but just try to refuse..." The newest single "That's How People Grow Up" was introduced with the line "A very very strange, a strange miracle has occurred... which is completely unfathomable, but we have released a single and it's actually being played by British radio (crowd cheers)... How could this be?" Morrissey also struggled with this number, and he jokingly changed a line to "that's how people throw up" (with puking motion) and ended with "As for me, I'm never okay, not now anyway!"
Before going into "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" Morrissey said "So what's the bet? That my voice is completely gone by song six... Any bets?... Ah shut up!" He slightly changed a line in that song to "Stop me, somebody stop me!", but more interestingly, over its closing bars, he said "See! See what you get when you practice!" Right before the band launched into "Irish Blood, English Heart" he asked "What's that from?" After that song he interrupted a chant of his name to tell the audience "You're obviously all tanked out of your minds... I hope!" In "All You Need Is Me" he jokingly replaced one occurrence of the title line to "all you need is blah". He also returned to the lyric "I was a small child in a welfare house" instead of the live standard "I was a small child in a council house".
Before going into "Death Of A Disco Dancer" Morrissey proceeded with the customary introduction of his band: "The boys in comas are Boz Boorer... are, is Solomon Walker... Matt Walker... Jesse Tobias... Kristopher Pooley... and dragging them all down to my level, me..." The epic "Life Is A Pigsty" was introduced with a dedication: "I would like to dedicate this next song, with much love, to Heath Ledger, and it's called 'Life Is A Pigsty'." The backing tape for that song wouldn't start so there was a long pregnant pause before Morrissey jokingly asked "Have you enjoyed that? Did we play a bit fast for you? This is what we call a technical problem, which means it's physical..." So the crowd started chanting his name and he shouted "What?... Just kidding..." At this point someone bounced up on stage and strolled casually over to Morrissey who politely shook his hand. The gentle invader then kissed his idol's hand as the bouncer started pulling him away. Morrissey thanked him and said "Some people have balls... well one or two of them..."
The band finally managed to start the song and at some point Morrissey followed an occurrence of the line "Once again I turn to you" with a shout of "who else!" He also made minor lyric changes, such as "somebody stop this pain" and "even now, yes now I am in love again". Following "Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed" he asked "Have you seen this new programme called 'Honest'? No? Has nobody seen this programme called 'Honest'? Well then I shall sh-shut up!" He made most of the usual lyric changes in "Sister, I'm A Poet" and also sang "and I wonder does anybody see things as I do?" He usually changed a line in that song to "a plastic bag stranded at the traffic lights, that once was me", but on this date he took it to "a singing frog, standing at the traffic lights, that once was me". He was evidently unhappy about his performance of the song because he followed it with the sarcastic comment "Well that song is definitely art!".
On several occasions during "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" Morrissey let the crowd take over, perhaps because he was just enjoying the sing-along, but more likely because of his throat since at some point near the end of the song, instead of singing, he just made a slashing noise while pretending to slash his neck. In "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" a line was changed to "in the absence of your smiling face I tour all over the place". The Smiths classic "How Soon Is Now?" was simply introduced with the short "And in the filthy recess of your mind..." After that song's final line "all my hope is gone" Morrissey adlibbed, "I never had any... how can it be gone?"
After "First Of The Gang To Die" Morrissey told his favourite fan "So you see Julia, somebody understands..." then handed her the microphone. She told him he sounded beautiful and he replied "You tell terrible lies Julia, you really do, it's a terrible habit..." In "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself" he pointed at his own face and cryptically sang "Then you'll see the glass, hidden in my face". He also changed a line in that song to "they kneel and they pray, Jesus". After the song he looked at someone shouting something, said "sorry?", then handed her the microphone. She requested "The National Front Disco" and he quickyly replied "Did you hear that?".
Morrissey changed a line in "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores" to "it might smear their stinking career". After that song, as the set was nearing the end, he teasingly quoted from one of his own lyrics to ask the audience "Do you really think I'll pull through?" He switched to the alternate intro for "Stretch Out And Wait" (as heard in the version of the song released on the album "The World Won't Listen"), but he actually twisted it slightly: "Your face I can see, and it's really not bad". Besides the usual lyric changes in that number he also sang "let your skinny body lie down, lie down" and "Will the world end in the daytime, I really hope so... or will the world end in the night time, I really don't know..." After the song he joked "I don't see anybody stretching!"
When he returned to the stage for the encore, after the traditional bow alongside his musicians, Morrissey told the audience "Thank you for being so... gorgeous... I know where you get it from!" The encore was "The Last Of The Famous International Playboys" and after singing the question "have I failed?" he replied with an emphatic "Yes! Yes!". The encore was predictably wild, with many crowd surfers making it to the pit, then getting to touch Morrissey's hand. However no one successfully made it on stage. Morrissey adlibbed many little bits of dialogue over the song's closing lines, before ripping his shirt off, throwing it into the audience and fleeing backstage.
Two different audio-only audience recordings of this date are also out there. Both sound reasonably good, but one (uncredited) features the full set while the other (credited to Steve from Soundsville International) only features the first eight songs.
Do you have information about this concert? Or do you own an uncirculated recording of it? If yes please contribute and get credited.