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During the month preceding the release of the "You Are The Quarry" album Morrissey did a dozen of American warm-up dates, including two five-day residencies at the Wiltern in Los Angeles and the Apollo Theater in New York City.
For the first time in his live career which now exceeded 20 years, Morrissey had a keyboard player on stage. Personnel: Boz Boorer (guitars) , Alain Whyte (guitars), Gary Day (bass), Dean Butterworth (drums) and Mike Farrell (keyboards, conga drum, maracas, tambourine, trumpet etc). A big gong set behind drummer Dean Butterworth was used at the end of "Jack The Ripper" and "Rubber Ring". The bass drum had the Attack Records logo on it. One of Boz's guitars was a replica of the Tommy Gun that Morrissey is seen holding on the cover of the "You Are The Quarry" album.
Morrissey came on stage with a flower or plant (probably lilac) hanging from his crotch zipper (view). The plant ended up being sent into the crowd a few songs into the set, just like Morrissey's shirts did at the end of the shows.
Morrissey also revisited his back catalogue. His early solo years provided regulars "Hairdresser On Fire", "Everyday Is Like Sunday" and "Jack The Ripper", all heavily featured on previous tours, as well as "Such A Little Thing Makes Such A Big Difference" and "I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday" which both hadn't been heard in at least a decade. The fans who attended the first four dates were treated to "Little Man, What Now?". The "Vauxhall & I" classic "Now My Heart Is Full" was reintroduced halfway into the leg and played three times for variety.
Of course Morrissey had to treat his fans to some material from his Smiths days. "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" was the near-standard encore on this leg, as it had been in 2002. "A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours" and "The Headmaster Ritual" were both played for the first time by solo Morrissey, and they were both performed on a majority of dates. The former had actually never been done by the Smiths at all. "Hand In Glove", the live classic "Shoplifters Of The World Unite" as well as the debuting "Rubber Ring" rounded up the setlists when variety was needed.
Finally two songs that were neither from the new album or from the back catalogue were also regulars on this leg of the tour. Both would be released as b-sides on singles later in the year. "No One Can Hold A Candle To You" was a cover of a track originally done by a band called Raymonde in the 1980s. Raymonde's frontman was James Maker, a friend of Morrissey's who incidentally had been a dancer on stage for the Smiths' first two live dates. Morrissey had wanted to record this homage to himself in the mid-1990s, but those plans had fallen through. He would finally release his own version at the end of the year on the "I Have Forgiven Jesus" single. The other new song was "Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice". At the time of this leg of the tour there were rumours that this new composition might be released as a non-album single or appear as a bonus track on the Japanese edition of the new album. The song finally came out as a b-side on the "Let Me Kiss You" single released the following October.
Here is the number of times each song was performed on this leg, in descending order of frequency. This is based on 12 concerts.
First Of The Gang To Die - 12
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The addition of a keyboard player to the line-up meant that Morrissey could play songs from his back catalogue that he could not have done as beautifully before, and he could improve the live arrangement of others. Songs like "A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours", "Such A Little Thing Makes Such A Big Difference" or "Rubber Ring" fall into the former category, while "Jack The Ripper", "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" or "Hand In Glove" fall into the latter. What was also noticeable on this tour was the slower pace of certain songs. In 2002 this was observed for a few titles, but on this tour this was more noticeable, particularly on tracks such as "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores" or "A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours". Some people complained that this slower pace killed the momentum of the concert for them.
All in all the most updated song was "Hairdresser On Fire". It usually started with "Where is London, so much for London" and the other occurrence of "here is London" was replaced with "so much for London" as well. However one night at the New York Apollo Morrissey took this a step further and sang "Where is Harlem, oh Happy Harlem". He did the previously heard changes "can you tease me into an empty page of your diary", "psychologically shave me", "home of the crass, outrageous and free", "stoned around Sloane Square", "too busy to kiss me" and "when he said I'm gonna screw you, I felt quite happy for you". In the latter case he even sometimes took it to "I felt quite jealous of you" or "I felt quite sorry for you". Morrissey usually replaced "you are repressed but you're remarkably dressed, is it real?" with "you are depressed, but you're remarkably dressed, and that's all you need" or "I am depressed, but I'm remarkably dressed, and that's all I need". There were many other minor changes, between "busy busy", "busy scissors" and "busy clippers", and between "supernaturally save me" and "supernaturally change me".
The 2004 live arrangement of "Jack The Ripper" featured a new outro. As usual Morrissey dropped the song's final verse and replaced it with a repeat of the chorus. In 2004 this repeat of the chorus was over minimal music, almost accapella, and the audience would often sing along with Morrissey. For the first time ever the man slightly changed something in that song's lyrics: "you don't agree but you don't refuse me, I know you". In "Such A Little Thing Makes Such A Big Difference" he alternated between the studio version's "how I love all of the very simple things of life" and the alternate "...complicated things of life". He also sometimes followed the line "most people keep their brains between their legs" with "some don't!", "thank God!" or nothing at all. In "I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday" he occasionally sang the alternate "I know it's gonna someday to me". The only change in "Little Man, What Now?" was the one from "down to a few lines in the back page of a fading annual" to "back to the mean melancholy streets that you came from". The other previously heard ones were not done. The four times this song was featured in a setlist, it was segued from the end of "Such A Little Thing Makes Such A Big Difference".
Morrissey was more conservative with "Now My Heart Is Full" than he had been in the past. The only remaining changes were the constant "I was tired again, I tried again" and "every jammy Stretford poet". "Everyday Is Like Sunday" which had been played slower and with a banjo on the 2002 tour now returned to its classic form. However it was segued from the first verse of a New York Dolls song called "Subway Train". Many fans thought that the extra verse they heard came from Morrissey's "My Love Life" because the latter is musically very similar to, and probably inspired by that New York Dolls song. Morrissey was also more conservative with the changes in that title. The only remaining ones were "scratch on a postcard" and the ending of "...when you're all alone, when you're on your own". He only sang "please come, please come nuclear bomb" a few times then reverted to the original studio version's "come, come nuclear bomb". In the song's intro "Subway Train" he sang "it isn't easy" instead of "it ain't easy".
In "A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours" Morrissey changed lines to "just eighteen months ago" and "I'm just surprised to still be on my own". He also replaced "and I soon came home" with "so I came straight home" and reversed most occurrences of "I'd hate the strain of the pain" and "I'd hate the pain of the strain". He sometimes replaced "they take what they need, and just leave" with "they take what (or who) they want from life", and "they take what they want from life" with "they have who (or have what) they want from life". At the end of the song he sang "my youth may be gone, but I'm still a young man". "Hand In Glove" and "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" were lyrically very faithful to the album versions, but when the latter was slotted as the encore it was significantly extended. At the end of his vocal part (which excluded the title line chorus at the end) Morrissey would leave the stage. Then one after the other his musicians would stop playing, put down their instrument then walk off stage, thus gradually stripping the song to its orchestral melody line, played by Mikey alone, the last one to leave.
In "The Headmaster Ritual" Morrissey changed "bruises bigger than dinner plates" to "bruises as big as dinner plates". Funnily enough, in an interview published shortly before the tour, Johnny Marr mentioned that when the Smiths had recorded the song, he had had a discussion with Morrissey in which he had told him that he should sing "as big as" instead of "bigger than". It seems that Morrissey finally took the advice, albeit 20 years later. In "Rubber Ring" Morrissey sang "a sad factor widely known", which is what he had originally written. He also sang "Good God! smother me Mother".
The songs from the new album that had already been played live on the 2002 tour (so that's "First Of The Gang To Die", "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores", "Irish Blood, English Heart" or "I Like You") were now done the same way they appeared on "You Are The Quarry". Having recorded them, Morrissey had now settled on definitive lyrics whereas in 2002 the songs slowly evolved as they were being broken into. In "How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?" Morrissey sometimes sang "everybody look, see pain and turn away" instead of "everybody look, see pain and walk away". Another line further into the song sounded like "as for you in your uniform, your totally smelly uniform", but Morrissey wasn't the one singing the word "totally", it was actually a sound sample of a man saying "we told you". In "I Have Forgiven Jesus" he sometimes mixed, perhaps distractedly, 'offload' and 'unlock' in the lines "offload this desire" and "unlock all this love".
The cover of Raymonde's "No One Can Hold A Candle To You" had yet to be recorded so Morrissey tried a few variations of some lines, some of which he would keep and others he would drop. He particularly alternated between "they stand on my hands, they stand on your hands", "they step on your head, they stand on my hands" and "they stand on your hands, they stand on my hands" but would finally settle on the latter when he recorded the song. One change introduced during this leg and which would occasionally be repeated later in the tour was the one from "Am I Einstein or am I Frankenstein?" to "Am I Einstein or am I Gertrude Stein?"
The best options here for serious collectors are rather good audience recordings of the 22 April and 24 April concerts, both from the Los Angeles Wiltern. Then completists in search of anything available in any quality shouldn't have any trouble locating rather bad recordings of the 3 May and 8 May gigs at the New York Apollo. Finally if they are well connected they might be able to get their hands on recordings of reasonable quality that are scarcely circulated at this point in time: 18 April in Anaheim and 26 April in Los Angeles.
"America Is Not The World" was only played once, on this leg's very first date, but casual collectors might prefer the excellent sounding version of the song found on a radio broadcast of a Dublin festival date from later in the year. "Little Man, What Now?" was played only four times, on this leg's first four dates. However the song was played extensively on the 2002 tour and better options exist there. "Hand In Glove" was played five times and is probably the most interesting rarity here. It had previously only been played 9 times in 2002, and never again after these warm-up dates.
Besides the above, the following songs were only played here on a few dates each: "Shoplifters Of The World Unite", "Rubber Ring", "I Like You", "Let Me Kiss You" and "Now My Heart Is Full". However they were all regulars on later legs of this tour, so casual collectors might want to look there for good recordings of them. They might be particularly interested in excellent sounding radio or television broadcasts from the upcoming festivals dates.