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This first leg of Morrissey's Greatest Hits tour was at first seen by fans as the first American leg of the Tour Of The Tormentors. Morrissey had only played three warm-up shows in the United States at the very beginning of the latter tour, plus one more later in Chicago, then three more in Pasadena earlier in 2007. This was at last the first chance most Americans got to see Morrissey on stage since the release of "Ringleader Of The Tormentors". The tour wasn't officially announced as a Greatest Hits tour in the media, but that's how it was named on the merchandise. Although the fans were not aware of it at the time, Morrissey was indeed planning the release of a new Greatest Hits package. However it would take almost another year for the album to finally come out.
Accordingly, the setlists didn't feature as much material from the latest album as they had in Europe the year before. Morrissey delved back into his back catalogue and pulled material that he had never done before, or material that he had not done very often or for a very long time. But 'Greatest Hits' seems to have been taken here in a much broader sense as Morrissey revisited other aspect of his career besides the obvious musical ones. One of the Greatest Hits t-shirts featured a pair of boxing gloves, a likely reference to his 1995 single "Boxers". The bass drum had the words ART SUFFER ENGLAND HATRED on it, in white letters over blue skin. That phrase had already been used by Morrissey in 1991 in advertisements for his "Kill Uncle" album. Morrissey also took the stage at the end of the "Imperfect List" intro as he had done throughout the 2004 You Are The Quarry tour. This was the first time Morrissey ever reused earlier walk-on music, and he would do it throughout the whole upcoming tour.
When Morrissey put together tours of this scale in the United States he always included a few dates in Canada. However as of 2006 Morrissey decided to boycott the country because of his disapproval of the seal hunt taking place there. So Canada was not visited on this tour, and hasn't been since. The Canadian fans were hurt that their idol would punish them for the actions of their governement, over which they had no control at all. Some hardcore Canadian fans traveled to the States to see Morrissey, but many couldn't afford to do that, or were simply turned off by Morrissey and have since lost interest in him.
Personnel: Boz Boorer - guitar, clarinet; Jesse Tobias - guitar and occasional cymbals; Solomon Walker - bass; Michael Farrell - keyboards, occasional guitar, accordeon, trombone, trumpet; Matt Walker - drums. Morrissey played tambourine on "The Queen Is Dead".
Videos, between Kristeen Young and Morrissey's sets:
After the show the fans exited the venue to Frank Sinatra's "That's Life".
As mentioned above, despite this being the first real tour of the USA since the release of his latest album "Ringleader Of The Tormentors", Morrissey did fewer songs from it here than in Europe the previous year. The album's singles "You Have Killed Me" and "I Just Want To See The Boy Happy" were done every night, while the two other singles "In The Future When All's Well" and "The Youngest Was The Most Loved" were included in most sets. "I Will See You In Far Off Places" and "Life Is A Pigsty" were played most nights, while "At Last I Am Born" was done half the time and "Dear God Please Help Me" was played once.
Previous album "You Are The Quarry" was represented by its first three singles, "Irish Blood, English Heart", "First Of The Gang To Die" and "Let Me Kiss You". These were played almost every night, just like the era's b-side "Ganglord".
A common complaint on the recent Tour Of The Tormentors MMVI was the near-absence of material from Morrissey's solo back catalogue. The man made up for that on this tour by playing "Disappointed", "Everyday Is Like Sunday", "The National Front Disco", "You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side" and "I've Changed My Plea To Guilty" on most, if not all dates. The fan favourite "The Last Of The Famous International Playboys" was played on all dates following its inception about two-thirds into the leg. "Lucky Lisp" was played on and off, mostly early in the leg. "Suedehead" was done twice while "Whatever Happens, I Love You" was done once. "Lucky Lisp" had never been played live before by Morrissey, while "You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side", "The Last Of The Famous International Playboys" and "Whatever Happens, I Love You" had not been played for many years.
The Smiths years were represented by a record total of 7 different songs. It must be said however that the setlists never featured all of them on the same night. "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side", which was played here for the first time by solo Morrissey, as well as "How Soon Is Now?" and "The Queen Is Dead" were staples. The latter song had only been done once by Morrissey in solo, on the 1997 Maladjusted tour. "Panic" and "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" were played two nights out of three, while "Girlfriend In A Coma" was done here and there. The classic "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" was played twice.
This leaves one more song, the cover of David Bowie's "Drive-In Saturday". Morrissey had covered the song once already, a one-off performance on 29 February 2000. He did it here for six more dates at the beginning of the leg. He then stopped playing it, probably because he often lost the attention of portions of the crowd when he did.
Here is the number of times each song was performed on this leg, in descending order of frequency. This is based on 30 concerts.
Disappointed - 30
Click here for more tour statistics.
In "Everyday Is Like Sunday" Morrissey always replaced "etch on a postcard" by "scratch on a postcard" and this was usually followed with "Oh Mama! how I dearly wish I was not here". The change to "...how I dearly with I had never been born" was not done anymore. "I do believe this is the coastal town" returned on a few dates and "please come please come nuclear bomb" was done most of the time. The line "trudging back over pebbles and sand" was often followed by mumbled words, or something that sounded like "bum, ba-dum, ba-dum". For the first time in this song's live history the part where Morrissey repeats "on your face, on your face" was sometimes altered. Changes that were reported include "on your face, God bless your face", "on your face, your sweet little face" and "on your face, your strong face". The song's final line was always extended 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.
At the end of "Life Is A Pigsty" Morrissey still replaced "I only live for you" with "I have lived only for you" and "I'm falling in love again" with "I am in love again". A newly introduced change was the one from "but I'm still the same underneath" to "how come I'm still the same underneath". That song still segued at the end into the traditional air "Auld Lang Syne" (which echoed the ending of the Smiths' "Asleep") then this in turn lead straight into "How Soon Is Now?". In the latter Smiths classic the "shyness that is criminally vulgar" was sometimes changed to "...crippling and vulgar" or "...criminal and vulgar". Early in the leg Morrissey introduced the change "how can you say, I live my life the wrong way", but then stopped doing it. He usually changed "you could meet somebody who really loves you" to "you could meet somebody who actually likes you" or "you could meet somebody who even likes you". On a few occasions he extended the line "and you cry and you want to die" with "...again" or "...again and again and again..." Early in the leg he often extended a line to "look at me! all my hope is gone", then changed that to "look at this face! all my hope is gone". As always the song's final verse was never done.
During the "and you see someone you physically despise" part in "Let Me Kiss You" Morrissey still teasingly tore his shirt open and threw it into the audience. That song's live change "you'll try anyone twice" was done almost every night. In "I Just Want To See The Boy Happy" Morrissey introduced occasional minor changes like "thank God soon I will be dead", "for my own life I never cared anything" and "why is this so impossible". "The National Front Disco" did not end in a noisy chaotic jam the way it did in 1992 or 1995, instead it ended with the same two notes repeated extensively in a staccato manner. A nice addition to the song was the piano line played by keyboardist Michael Farrell. Morrissey usually replaced "she should know why you've gone" with "she should know where you've gone" and always skipped the "settle the score", "then you might do" and "...Front disco" bits. He still replaced the second occurrence of "we've lost our boy" with "have we lost our boy".
In the returning "The Queen Is Dead" Morrissey added many lyric changes that were not present in the only earlier live solo performance of the song dating back to 1997. As in 1997 or during the Smiths days the 2007 live version started with "Farewell to these marches" but Morrissey now continued with "stuck like a boar between arches". The "I'm truly sorry" part of "I'm truly sorry - but it sounds like a wonderful thing" was dropped. Morrissey usually asked Charles if he ever craved "...to appear on the front of the Daily mail dressed in your brother's bridal veil?". On the first few dates he sang "Look! I'm the 18th pale descendent of some old queen or other". The line "I never even knew what drugs were" was changed to "I still don't know what drugs are". The change most people noticed was the one to "she said 'I know you, and you cannot sing', I said: 'Of course I can you silly thing!'". As always the last two of the three verses starting with "We can go for a walk..." were dropped and Morrissey sang "you can trust me boys" instead of the second occurrence of "it's so lonely on a limb".
Throughout the previous year Morrissey had often improvised one-off changes in "You Have Killed Me" but here he seemed to settle on regular ones. He usually started the song with "Pasolini is me, but Rossellini I would rather be" or "Pasolini is me, Fellini I would rather be". Further down he sang "Anne Sexton you will always be". Previous live changes "what the hell is my life for" and "who am I that I come to be standing here" were still done regularly. Morrissey often extended a line to "I entered nothing and obviously nothing entered me", then to "I entered nothing and look! nothing entered me". In "First Of The Gang To Die" he introduced a change to "the first lost lad to go - where else? - under the sod" or "the first lost lad to go under the sod - where else?". This was often followed with an exclamation like "goodbye!", "ciao!" or "so long!". In "The Youngest Was The Most Loved" the man often sang "We kept him from the world's glare thank God! he turned into a killer" or "We kept him from the world's glare, he turned into a killer thank God!". He sometimes changed a line to "with a strange wife beside him", "with a very strange wife beside him" or "with a funny wife beside him".
Except for a few early dates Morrissey switched to the first person for the first verse in "You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side" ("with the world's fate resting on my shoulders, I'm gonna need someone on my side, etc"). Then now and then he sang "I can't do it anymore, any longer". A constant new change was the one to "someone kindly told me that you've thrown away every day of your teenage life". Morrissey sometimes added emphasis to a line by singing "Well, you don't need to look so doggone pleased". New composition "All You Need Is Me" had yet to be released and in these early live performances Morrissey sang "I was a small fat child in a council house" instead of "...welfare house" which he would end up recording for posterity. He also sang "yet you remain here 'cause all you need is me". The other new composition "That's How People Grow Up" was done pretty much like the studio version which would be released the following year.
In "I Will See You In Far Off Places" Morrissey rarely changed "I will close my eyes forever" to "I will close my mouth forever" anymore, but he still sang "It's so easy for us to stand here together but it's impossible for the flesh to combine" most of the time. The most noticed change in that song was obviously the one from "if the USA doesn't bomb you" to "if George W Bush doesn't kill you". In a similar vein, Morrissey introduced a new change in "Irish Blood, English Heart" to "I've been dreaming of a time when Americans are sick to death of Republicans and Democrats". As in 1991 Morrissey replaced "it's safer to be inside" in most live performances of "I've Changed My Plea To Guilty" with "it's safer to stay inside". When "Life Is A Pigsty" was dropped from the set at the end of this leg the latter song took its place in the pairing with "How Soon Is Now?" via the traditional air "Auld Lang Syne".
Morrissey was very playful with "In The Future When All's Well". He sang "I will lie down anywhere and be counted" and even sometimes "I will lie down anywhere and be sat on". On and off he also did "everyday I play a silly game called...", "everyday I play a very sad game called..." or other slight variations. He always sang "something must have gone wrong" and would occasionally pull the previously heard "I thank you with what's left of my heart" and "Lee, anybody, stand up and defend me". He often adlibbed many other bits between regular lines of that song. In "Ganglord" Morrissey alternated between "the clock on the wall makes fun", "the clock on the wall makes a joke" and "the clock on the wall is making fun". He also introduced the change to "wanting me to break their silly laws". He usually sang "but what they really want to say is get back to the ghetto". Further down he often sang "get your fat ass back to the ghetto" as he had done before, and also sometimes followed it with "get your scrawny ass back to the ghetto".
At the end of "Panic" Morrissey sometimes followed the final "hang the DJ!" with exclamations such as "any DJ!", "all of them!", "everyone of them!" or "any will do!". The title line in "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" was always changed to "Please, please, please let me have who I want". As in the Smiths days that number's second half (final two verses) was repeated to extend the song's length. 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 guitar, keyboards and trumpet.
In "At Last I Am Born" Morrissey sometimes sang "vegetarians know" but more often than not he would stick with the original "vulgarians know". Now and then he replaced "historians note" with "historians write this down" and most of the time he replaced "difficult child" with "fat little child". He always added emphasis to a line by singing "at last I am born, yes!, it took me a long long time..." In "The Last Of The Famous International Playboys" he sang "Reggie Kray always knew my name" and "Ronnie Kray always knew my face" (or "...name" again). As he often did in the early nineties he sang "just to make myself more attracted to you" and let the audience supply the higher-pitched 'international' in the title line.
In "Lucky Lisp" Morrissey unfortunately replaced the 'balcony fool' line with a repeat of "I will gurgle from the circle". The line "he couldn't get over your Grandma's omen" was always changed to the funnier "he couldn't get over your Grandma's odor". The line "they couldn't get over your nine-leaved clover" was sometimes replaced with "they couldn't get over the psychic's omen or "they couldn't get over your Grandma's odor". There were many minor changes in "Drive-In Saturday" (see here for full list). The most interesting one was the one from "when people stared in Jagger's eyes and scored" to "when people stared in David Johansen's eyes and scored". Morrissey also switched "Twig the Wonder Kid" to "Chris the Wonder Kid".
In "Whatever Happens, I Love You" Morrissey changed "we stole each other's clothes" to "we wore each other's clothes" as had done before in 1995. The Smiths classic "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" was lyrically very faithful to its studio counterpart. The only minor lyric changes were when Morrissey followed "if a ten ton truck kills the both of us" with either "so what!" or "who cares!". At this point in time Morrissey sang the chorus at the end of the song. He had only done this once at the very beginning of the Queen Is Dead tour in 1986, then never again, even in solo, until halfway into the festival dates of 2004 when he started singing the chorus.
A live version of "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" recorded in Omaha on 11 May 2007 was released in 2008 on the first of two different 7" singles of "That's How People Grow Up". At the time of release of the latter single, live versions of "That's How People Grow Up" from the Hollywood Bowl concert on 8 June 2007 and Las Vegas on 9 June 2007 were also offered as official downloads.
The second cd of the limited 2-cd edition of Morrissey's 2008 "Greatest Hits" album featured eight live tracks from the Hollywood Bowl concert from 8 June 2007. The American edition of the latter compilation included one extra live track from that day, "That's How People Grow Up" (it had already been offered as a download in other parts of the world, as mentioned above). "Everyday Is Like Sunday" from the same show was later released on the 2010 reissue of "Everyday Is Like Sunday".
Otherwise unavailable live versions of "Irish Blood, English Heart" and "First Of The Gang To Die" from Las Vegas on 9 June 2007 were given away by registering with the official "It's Morrissey's World webpage during the weeks preceding the release of the "Greatest Hits" compilation album.
The second single from the latter anthology, "All You Need Is Me", also featured live material from this period among its b-sides, as the first of two 7" singles was backed with a live version of Morrissey's cover of David Bowie's "Drive-In Saturday" recorded in Omaha on 11 May 2007. The latter live cover was collected in 2009 on the b-sides anthology titled "Swords".
Some collectors have managed to get their hands on professionally filmed footage of the (apparently) complete San Diego concert but this is not really being shared yet. There is also fanmade footage of that same show out there, but this is also not being circulated much yet. It is no great loss to most fans besides completists because the San Diego show was arguably one of the low points of this tour.
The only other good DVD bootleg that fans and collectors can hope to get their hands onto right now (for this leg) is the complete Las Vegas recording which fortunately happens to be one of the best, if not the best show of this segment of the tour. This was filmed from the balcony, right of center, and features many good steady close-ups of Morrissey or his musicians.
The only other options at this point in time for collectors of live footage are two different recordings of the 28 April show in Sparks. One of these recordings is circulated as eight digital files on the internet, covering the first hour of the show. The other recording is of the full show minus about two songs near the end, but it is shaky, marred with singing neighbours and lacks the between-song banter. A video recording of the complete Bakersfield show is also known to exist but is not being shared yet.
Most of the shows from this segment of the tour have been recorded by at least one person. However many recording have yet to make it to wide circulation, as they are still being kept as trading currency. This won't matter much to non-completists as, besides the officially released material mentioned above, there are also two excellent audience recordings worth finding. The Houston show is the best of those two. Not only is the sound quality good, but the show in itself was one of Morrissey's best on this tour. The other excellent sounding audience recording is the one from Denver. Both feature the full set.
Thanks to recorders JG and a few others, good to average audience recordings of a few more dates are also out there for fans interested in getting their hands on more: Oakland, Santa Rosa, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Ann Arbor, Cleveland, St. Louis, Ventura, Riverside, Los Angeles Hollywood Bowl and Bakersfield. The audio was also ripped from the Las Vegas and Sparks audience video recordings mentioned above and put into circulation on the internet.