26 February 1995|
Drury Lane Theatre Royal, London
Billy BuddThis final date of the Boxers tour was a very different experience, in a different, classier venue. For the occasion, many fans who had been following Morrissey around the UK the past month dressed in their finest formal wear, tuxedos or dressing gowns. Before the concert they all lined up between Morrissey's car and the entrance and politely clapped their hands while Morrissey walked his way inside, with an obvious smile on his face. The venue was a seated one, without a barrier or much security. Needless to say that a good number of fans made it on stage throughout the evening. Morrissey was very talkative and playful. He had the most scars and bruises as ever on this tour - not only on his face and neck, but on his arms and chest as well.
Entering stage, Morrissey greeted the crowd with "Welcome to the West End!" before going into standard set opener "Billy Budd". He had with him a tambourine with the words "ERIC CANTONA" written on the skin. He shook the tambourine for a few bars into the opening song then threw it into the audience. After the following number "Have-A-Go Merchant" he announced "So tonight you can be as playful as you like... or you can be your old boring self". Shortly after, "You're The One For Me, Fatty" was introduced with "This song is about you". Halfway into the song, Morrissey approached the edge of the stage and started touching fans hands, but soon some of them started pulling on his shirt and almost made him fall into the crowd. Meanwhile he was unable to sing. The shirt finally gave way, Morrissey was free, got back up and resumed the song. After that he commented "Thank you... that was very enjoyable... and this one will be even more so... 'Wrestlers'!". Of course, that was an introduction to "Boxers", the next song on the setlist. Because Alain seemed to be taking his time, Morrissey then said "when you're ready Alain!".
After the latter number Morrissey announced "Somebody's just made an incredibly valid point, which I'd like to repeat: this is being recorded for the radio... so I think... yes I think because it is recorded, they have to play it now. So you will hear me on the radio. It's incredible! And because they'll obviously edit all that, let's pretend I never said it...." before introducing the following song on the setlist: "The... thoughts... of... 'Jack... The... Ripper'". After that, the crowd got wilder and after one more song Morrissey said "I'm a bit sorry I mentioned the radio now, because obviously everybody's gonna shout out their favourite recipes and so forth... but oh, it doesn't matter...".
After "Whatever Happens I Love You", to someone who was shouting from the balcony, Morrissey said "Yes, what is it? I told you I'd see you later...". Then, after "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get", he stated "You probably didn't notice but I didn't win a BPI award last week (crowd boos)... and I have never been so relieved in my life! (crowd cheers)". After "Moonriver" he matter-of-factly said "I wrote that". Before "Speedway" he said "It's nearly time for your slippers, so this is the last song", which of course drew a good deal of booing from the crowd. Coming back for the encore, Morrissey wittily announced "And now, as an act of complete spontaneity..." before going into "Shoplifters Of The World Unite", the usual encore of this tour. The song was cut short after just a few bars because too many fans climbed on stage. Morrissey, who had managed to sing only two lines, left first, soon to be followed by his band members.
The concert was recorded by the BBC and was broadcast many times since, mainly in the USA. It is unknown whether the complete set was ever broadcast in full. Most programmes featured only 10 or 11 songs, to fit within one hour including commercials. The longest known broadcast featured the first 14 songs.
The first 14 songs of the set (so the whole set minus the final two songs) were released on the bonus cd included with the 2014 20th anniversary edition of "Vauxhall & I" (2-cd edition only, not LP).
The more common 10-track broadcast of "Billy Budd" / "Spring-Heeled Jim" / "Boxers" / "Jack The Ripper" / "Whatever Happens, I Love You" / "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself" / "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get" / "The National Front Disco" / "Moonriver" / "Now My Heart Is Full" can be found on the manufactured bootlegs "The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get", "Welcome To The West End" and "Bona Fide Drag". All sound rather good, but perhaps not as good as radio broadcast bootlegs can get. "Welcome To The West End" also features 11 songs from 21 February 1995. "Bona Fide Drag" also includes live and non-live single material from the "We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful", "Pregnant For The Last Time" and "Live At KROQ" singles ("Suedehead" / "I've Changed My Plea To Guilty" / "Alsatian Cousin" live London 4 October 1991; "Skin Storm" - studio version; "Disappointed" live Utrecht, Holland 1 May 1991; "There's A Place In Hell For Me And My Friends" / "My Love Life" / "Sing Your Life" KROQ radio sessions)
A broadcast of the first 14 songs of the set was made available on a bootleg titled "Stretford Poet" (not to be confused with another bootleg titled "Stredford Poet"). A 11-track radio broadcast cd was transfered onto a bootleg titled "Wrestlers/Boxers" (tracks "Billy Budd" / "Have-A-Go Merchant" / "Spring-Heeled Jim" / "London" / "You're The One For Me, Fatty" / "Boxers" / "Jack The Ripper" / "We'll Let You Know" / "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get" / "Moonriver" / "Whatever Happens, I Love You"). A different 11-track radio broadcast can be found on a bootleg simply titled "London" (tracks "Billy Budd" / "Have-A-Go Merchant" / "Spring-Heeled Jim" / "London" / "Boxers" / "Whatever Happens, I Love You" / "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself" / "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get" / "The National Front Disco" / "Moonriver" / "Now My Heart Is Full"). The latter also features a Janice Long radio session (3 songs + interview) from 2002.
Do you have information about this concert? Or do you own an uncirculated recording of it? If yes please contribute and get credited.