4 July 2008|
London (UK), O2 Wireless Festival
The Last Of The Famous International PlayboysFestivals are rarely very good settings for Morrissey shows, because of the lack of intimacy, the limited time frame and the presence of many non-fans waiting for the next act to come on. This appearance still went down quite well. The set did seem a bit rushed because of the curfew, and some people found that Morrissey looked a bit tired, but he still gave his best. He was playful, dramatic, talkative and his usual crowd-taunting self. The audience was positively rapturous, and during Morrissey's renditions of unfamiliar material, such as "Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed", there was still a quiet concentration as he sang.
There were no surprises in the setlist. "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell" was temporarily dropped, surely because of time constraints.
Morrissey hit the stage at the end of the drum solo of "The Operation" and greeted the crowd by saying "When you walk through a storm... hold your head up high... and don't ever, ever be afraid of..." This led straight into set opener "The Last Of The Famous International Playboys". Besides the usual lyric changes in that song, Morrissey also sang "In our lifetime those who kill, the BBC hand them stardom". As he was wearing a Playboy (bunny+pin-ups) t-shirt, he followed the song with the comment "And just in case you have any doubts, it says there 'Playboys'..." He finished "First Of The Gang To Die" by singing "...the end, ahh!", then told the audience "See, song number 4 and still here... incredible!"
After "That's How People Grow Up" Morrissey complained "And as we stand here... as we stand here... that alluring, wafting smell of burning animals coming across the lawn... Where would humans be without it? Stick death into your body, death into your body... sickness, illness, death into your body... Hamburgers! Yak!... I overdid it..." After "Irish Blood, English Heart" he changed t-shirts then treated the audience to a bit of sarcasm: "So uh... I was - I was absolutely...I was absolutely thrilled to death yesterday to see Kylie Minogue receive an MBE for her services to music (crowd cheers/boos)... I think it's long overdue... I think it's much deserved... and I think you agree..."
Morrissey followed "I Just Want To See The Boy Happy" with the introduction of his band: "So, it's a dark... it's a dark night in Whitechapel. You can't see very well. You're middle-aged. Your eyesight's gone. You look to the left, you look to the right... and you see Boz Boorer... you see the elegant Solomon Walker... elegant... very elegant... and playing the drumming, you, amazingly, see Matt Walker... from south of the border, not Sidcup, Jesse Tobias... playing the piano, Kristopher Pooley... I am nameless, timeless and uh... that's it really..." Besides the numerous usual lyric changes in "Sister I'm A Poet", such as changing "sister" for "brother", Morrissey also sang "a silly fool stranded at the traffic lights, that once was me".
Besides the previously heard lyric changes in "Vicar In A Tutu", such as "I was minding my business I was lifting some lead off the roof of the Salford Lads Club", Morrissey also introduced the new "As Rose steals money from parishioners". After the song he asked the crowd "Have you had a reasonbly decent day? (crowd cheers) Where were you?" In "All You Need Is Me" he changed "mock-horrified" to "absolutely horrified" and sang "You know who it is and you're thrilled by what it means". He preceded "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores" with the line "There is so much I could say as we lead into this next song... but I shan't bother... I'll just sing the song..." After the song he explained "I don't know if you're aware of this but there is a very, very strict curfew on tonight (crowd cheers)... So, apparently if I don't sing everything really quickly at a certain time Harriet Harmon and Ruth Kelly come on stage, kick the shit out of me and that's it... Harriet Harmon, Ruth Kelly, no?"
Following "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself?" Morrissey jokingly announced "That song was written by Kylie Minogue..." He followed up "Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed" with the news "That's from our new cd which is called 'Years of Refusal' and... if you can possibly live with the horrendous reviews, I do! And the song was called 'Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed'... Oh yes, you cheer that... however!..." Following his cover of the Buzzcock's "You Say You Don't Love Me" he said "That song was written and recorded by... Buzzcocks... God. Bless. Manchester... God. Bless. Mange-fester. Manchester! Mange-fester!"
Morrissey changed a line in "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" to "In the absence of your smiling face, I skate all over the place". After the song he acknowledged the audience's appreciation with the comment "Never feel pressurized... Never. Feel. Pressurized..." Besides the many lyric changes in "Stretch Out And Wait" he also sang "Will the world end in the night time? Why ask me? I don't know and is there any point ever having children? NO!" After the song he asked someone "What was that for? Huh? What should I do? Should I jump?"
The pause before the encore was a very brief one. Following it Morrissey's parting words to the audience were the ones which received the loudest cheer of the evening: "Well thank you for giving us such a fantastic time... As you know... as some of you know, today is American Independence Day... but, as we all know, the only independence for America is next January when they are finally rid of George W. Bush..." Over the opening bars of "What She Said" Morrissey exclaimed "See!" After the song he removed the shirt he was wearing and instead of throwing it into the crowd as he usually does, he teasingly dragged it across a long distance of the edge of the stage, baiting the fans to climb over the fence to rip it out of his hands. Of course no one managed to get it so he finally threw it out.
The complete concert was webcast in audio from the XFM webpage, as the concert took place. A brief Morrissey interview preceded the webcast. A television special on the event featured highlights from most artists who had played at the festival, including Morrissey. The songs shown in that programme were "The Last Of The Famous International Playboys", "Ask", "First Of The Gang To Die" and "Irish Blood, English Heart".
The audio webcast is also very commonly circulated on bootleg cds and in digital format. All the copies in circulation have glitches in some of the songs, always at the same places. These glitches stem from the original broadcast signal and not from the individual recorder's reception. A manufactured bootleg 7" titled "You Say You Don't Love Me" featuring four songs from this recording appeared on the collectors market later in the year. The songs are "You Say You Don't Love Me", "Stretch Out And Wait", "All You Need Is Me" and "The Loop". The full concert is also sometimes seen with artwork, under the title "Hyde Park London".
Do you have information about this concert? Or do you own an uncirculated recording of it? If yes please contribute and get credited.