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After a year spent touring England and the rest of Europe very extensively, when Morrissey was expected to finally do a full American tour to promote his latest album "Ringleader Of The Tormentors", he only did one show in Chicago. This was preceded by three dates in Mexico, then another bunch of UK/European dates. Americans fans would have to wait until the Spring of 2007 for Morrissey to finally tour their country.
Except for Chicago all of these shows were set in arenas or other venues of that size. This contrasted with the smaller venues Morrissey had played in around the UK and Europe at the beginning of the tour. Unfortunately this also meant that for many attendees the concert experience wasn't the same. Venues of that size don't always have good acoustics and the interaction between Morrissey and his fans, given the greater distance, is not the same.
The bass drum showed a new picture of 2 people on a motorbike or moped, perhaps taken from the film Mamma Roma. The people were a boy and a girl and they had bubbles coming out of both of their heads with "Morrissey" written in each (view). The huge gong behind the drum set had the word TORMENTORS on it.
Personnel: Boz Boorer - guitar; Jesse Tobias - guitar and occasional cymbals; Gary Day (replaced by Solomon Walker in Chicago) - bass; Michael Farrell - keyboards, accordeon (also hit drum with mallet in "Life Is A Pigsty"), trumpet, trombone; Matt Walker - drums.
Music, before Kristeen Young:
Videos, between Kristeen Young and Morrissey's sets:
After the show the fans exited the venue to Frank Sinatra's "That's Life".
The content was rather static for most of this leg. Earlier in the year the sets were heavily geared towards eleven of the twelve songs off the newest album "Ringleader Of The Tormentors". Now the album was only represented by seven – sometimes eight - of its songs on a typical night. The highlight was the addition of the only title off the album which hadn't been performed before, "Dear God Please Help Me". Other album regulars were singles "The Youngest Was The Most Loved", "You Have Killed Me", "In The Future When All's Well" and "I Just Want To See The Boy Happy" as well as "I Will See You In Far Off Places" and the epic "Life Is A Pigsty". "I'll Never Be Anybody's Hero Now" was added in Nottingham and kept until the end of the tour. "To Me You Are A Work Of Art" was played once only, in Frankfurt. In addition the 2006 b-side "Ganglord" – a live favourite - was played every night.
As for previous album "You Are The Quarry" there was no change. It was still represented by its first three singles: "First Of The Gang To Die", "Irish Blood, English Heart" and "Let Me Kiss You", all performed on every date. The album's deluxe edition supplied "Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice". This was played on the very first date of the leg, then dropped until Nottingham when it was reinstated for good.
One of the major complaints about the setlists earlier in the year was that Morrissey's back catalogue was not much represented. The gradual extension of the setlist length to 22 titles and the fewer number of songs from the newest album meant that more attention could be given to the earlier material on this leg. Four songs which hadn't been performed in many years made their comeback: "Disappointed" last played in 1992, "I've Changed My Plea To Guilty" last played in 1991, "Everyday Is Like Sunday" last played in 2004 and "The National Front Disco" last played in 1995. These were all setlist regulars on this leg.
Finally the Smiths years provided five songs every night. Earlier regulars "Girlfriend In A Coma", "How Soon Is Now?" and "Panic" remained so, but "Still Ill" and "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" were dropped altogether. Instead of them Morrissey dug into the 1984 Smiths catalogue and pulled out "William, It Was Really Nothing" and "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want". The former had never been performed by Morrissey without the other Smiths before. The latter had only been played once before by Morrissey in solo, in 2002. Trivia fans will have noticed that of the five Smiths songs played on this leg, three were originally released at the same time on the "William, It Was Really Nothing" single in 1984: the title track, "How Soon Is Now?" and "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want".
Here is the number of times each song was performed on this leg, in descending order of frequency. This is based on 20 concerts.
Dear God Please Help Me - 20
Click here for more tour statistics.
After performing certain titles many many times Morrissey usually starts taking liberties with lyrics and this was particularly the case at this point in time with "You Have Killed Me". On most nights Morrissey started by pointing at the Pasolini backdrop and singing the opening line "Pasolini is he..." He would then turn around and continue with "... and Mozalini is me", "... and Mozalini I'll always be" or other similar variations. As for the same line in the next verse, he would usually start with "Visconti is me..." or "Fellini is me...". Like earlier in the year he often followed this with "Anna Magnani you will never be" or "...you will always be", but once or twice he replaced Anna Magnani by Sophia Loren, then by Diana Dors many times. Previous live changes "what the hell is my life for" and "who am I that I come to be standing here" were still done, but the latter was sometimes changed to "who am I that I come to be on this stage", "...to be on this screen", "...to be kneeling here" or "to be shaking your hand".
In earlier performances of "Disappointed" in 1991 and 1992, Morrissey often changed the first line "Our unsleepable friend" to "Your unspeakable friend". On these dates he alternated between the latter and "Your unsleepable friend". Like before this was followed by "...would rather die than have to sleep with you". The most notable new change in that song was "I have spent my whole life confused because of people who were nice". Later in the song Morrissey sometimes stuck to the studio version's "Young girl one day you will be old", but most times he did the previously heard live change "Young girl one day you really will be old". As before the audience was happy to supply the shouts of "No!" and "Yeah!" at the end of the song.
In "Ganglord" Morrissey still changed the "clock on the wall" verse, but on most of these dates the "clock on the wall" was said to make fun and a joke "of you all" instead of "...us all". One interesting new change near the end of the song was "get your fat ass back to the ghetto". For a stretch of time Morrissey sang "they say to protect you and to serve". In "I'll Never Be Anybody's Hero Now" he sang "haves (they) cannot stand we have nots" and "they who shouldn't love me walk right past me" or "... walk straight past me" or "... cannot stand me". As before he sang "it only hurts me because it's true", and sometimes "it only hurts me why? because it's true".
Only one line in "William, It Was Really Nothing" was changed: "God knows I'm trying to live mine" was replaced on most nights by "I'm here trying to live mine" or "I'm here, I'm trying to live mine". In "I Will See You In Far Off Places" Morrissey still did the previous live change "It's so easy for us to stand here together, but it's so hard for the flesh to combine", but at some point this was changed again, this time to "...but it's impossible for the flesh to combine". On a stretch of dates he changed "I will close my eyes forever" to "I will close my mouth forever". In Chicago he replaced "if the USA doesn't bomb you" by "if George W Bush doesn't bomb you". The latter adaptation would become standard when Morrissey would finally tour the USA in 2007.
"Everyday Is Like Sunday" returned to something closer to its original form. There was no "Subway Train" intro like in 2004, and no banjo like in 2002. He did very few of the previously heard live changes, but he still replaced "etch on a postcard" by "scratch on a postcard". Interestingly, this was often followed by "Oh Mama! how I dearly wish I was not here". Near the end he extended a line to "Everyday is silent and grey at least when you're all alone, when you're on your own, when you're all alone" or a variation thereof. Most notably, after "trudging back over pebbles and sand" he often sang or mumbled a few words that have yet to be deciphered. On some dates he would just hum those words.
"In The Future When All's Well" was another title that Morrissey was very playful with. He still sang "Something must have gone wrong", but also did "I will lie down and be sat on", "Everyday I play a silly/stupid/pointless game called...", "Lee, anybody, stand up and defend me" and "I thank you with what's left of my heart" on many dates. Just like in 1991 he replaced "it's safer to be inside" in "I've Changed My Plea To Guilty" to "it's safer to stay inside", which is closer to how the song was written, but not recorded.
Live performances of "Let Me Kiss You" still included a trumpet bridge not on the album version and during the "and you see someone you physically despise" part Morrissey still often teasingly removed his shirt and threw it into the audience. However the live change "you'll try anyone twice" which had been heard on very few occasions earlier in the year was now customary. The main difference between the 1992 and 1995 live performances of "The National Front Disco" and the new ones was found in the ending. Whereas in the 1990s the song ended in a noisy chaotic jam where instruments were often destroyed, in 2006 it ended with the same two notes repeated extensively in a staccato manner. The other difference is that he usually replaced "she should know why you've gone" by "she should know where you've gone". Besides this Morrissey still skipped the "settle the score" and "then you might do" bits and never ended "...going to the National" with "...Front disco". He still replaced the second occurrence of "we've lost our boy" by "have we lost our boy".
In "Dear God Please Help Me" Morrissey followed "Dear God did this kind of thing happen to you?" with "No..." For the first time he started changing lyrics in "How Soon Is Now?". On a few occasions the "shyness that is criminally vulgar" became "...criminal and vulgar" and on even more dates it became "...crippling and vulgar". Elsewhere Morrissey sang "you could meet somebody who actually likes you" and "look! all my hope is gone" or "look at me! all my hope is gone". However as in 2004 or during the Smiths days, the song's final verse was never done. At the end of "Life Is A Pigsty" Morrissey replaced "I'm falling in love again" by "I am in love again". That song always segued at the end into the traditional air "Auld Lang Syne" played on the keyboard by Michael, echoing the ending of the Smiths' "Asleep".
The new version of "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" had a major lyric change and this one affected the title line. If the 2006 live arrangement of that song were to be released its title would have to be changed to "Please, Please, Please Let Me Have Who I Want". As heard during the Smiths days, that number's second half (final two verses) was repeated to extend it past the 2-minute mark. However in the repeated part Morrissey changed the melody of the line "let me have who I want" by bunching the words closer together. The song's mandolin ending was recreated beautifully with horn, guitar and keyboards like it had never been done before, even during the Smiths days. In "Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice" Morrissey sometimes followed the line "...and it can come from the strangest direction" with a roar of "Hey kid! Hey you!", "Come on kid, you!" or something similar, or even just a grunt.
If one looks at availability and quality, the best option for DVD bootlegs of concerts from this leg might be the recording of the full set at London's Wembley Arena. The concert was one of the best of this leg and the footage is clear. It was filmed from the balcony but has good close-ups.
DVD bootlegs of the two final dates at the G-Mex in Manchester are very popular and easy to find. They both feature the full set minus very small parts of one or two songs. The bootlegger had the great idea of filming the huge screen next to the stage, but unfortunately the result is rather shaky, particularly for the first night. So fans interested in only one of the two shows will prefer the DVD of the second night, or perhaps an alternate DVD mixing the best moments from both dates.
Glasgow and Frankfurt were filmed by the same person. They are both available in original form, or in a montage of both nights over a Glasgow audio recording. The original Glasgow features the first 60 minutes of the show, it was filmed from down into the crowd and suffers from many blackouts. The Frankfut original is much better, it features the full set minus one song and was filmed from the left balcony. The Glasgow/Frankfurt montage features the full set as performed in Glasgow. Both originals and the montage are scarcely circulated.
Even scarcer is the video recording of Morrissey's only ever concert in Luxembourg. It features the complete set minus part of a song. It was filmed from the rear of the hall but features good close-ups.
30 minutes of digital camera footage from Berlin has been put together to produce a well circulated DVD bootleg. One of the main qualities of that footage is that it was filmed from within the first few rows so it is very lively. It features a good deal of banter, but unfortunately only one third of the set is featured and many songs are cut at the beginning or the end so the listening flow is constantly interrupted.
Finally a shaky cellphone or digital camera capture of the Guadalajara gig is circulated among fans on VCD. It features the complete set minus the in-between songs banter and a few song intros. The footage and sound quality are both quite bad so this will appeal only to completists and perhaps fans who attended the concert. A DVD is rumoured for that date, but this is not confirmed.
The better audience recordings from this period in time feature full or near full sets from Birmingham, London, Hamburg and Manchester night 2. Good audience recordings of Glasgow and Guadalajara are also out there, but the sets in those two cities were slightly shorter.
Fans interested in more will want next the full but slightly inferior München recording. The audio tracks of the Luxembourg and Manchester night 1 DVDs mentioned in the video bootleg section are also circulated on cd and in digital format. These are good for video recordings, but perhaps not as good as a proper audio recording. Finally the audience bootleg of the near-complete Monterrey concert is plain bad and will appeal only to completists.