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After a break of two months, Morrissey added a third American leg to his Greatest Hits tour. This one was built around 3 residencies: a 4-day one at the Fillmore in San Francisco, a 10-day one at the Hollywood Palladium and a 5-day one at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom. The second and third dates at the Hollywood Palladium were cancelled because of a ruptured water pipe. It must be said that Morrissey was the last artist to play that venue, which was to be closed after these dates.
The tour wasn't officially announced as a Greatest Hits tour in the media, but that's how it was named on the merchandise. The fans were not aware of it at the time of this tour's first two legs, but by the time this leg took place Morrissey had finally announced for early 2008 the release of a new Greatest Hits package. '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 showed a pair of boxing gloves, a likely reference to his 1995 single "Boxers". On the first two legs of the tour the bass drum had the words ART SUFFER ENGLAND HATRED on it. 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 various walk-on pieces from the past. He alternated between Klaus Nomi's "Wayward Sisters", the William Blake poem "Jerusalem" sung by the Borstal inmates in "The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner" film, John Betjeman's poem "A Child Ill" and Big Hard Excellent Fish's "Imperfect List". These intros had previously been used in 1991-1992, the 1995 Boxers tour, the 2002 tour and the 2004 You Are The Quarry tour respectively.
The line ART SUFFER ENGLAND HATRED on the bass drum's skin was replaced with a different but equally cryptic one: SOME OF US IS TURNING NASTY. Morrissey shouted those words over the closing bars of most performances of the song "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before".
Personnel: Boz Boorer - guitar, clarinet; Jesse Tobias - guitar and occasional cymbals; Solomon Walker - bass, stand up bass; Michael Farrell - keyboards, occasional guitar, accordeon, trombone, trumpet; Matt Walker - drums. Morrissey shook a tambourine in a few songs such as "The Loop".
Earlier Greatest Hits tour shirts:
Videos, between opening act's and Morrissey's sets:
After the show the fans exited the venue to Frank Sinatra's "That's Life".
Of course the most exciting addition to the setlist was the introduction of new composition "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell". The song was debuted on the first date and performed at about three quarters of the shows from this leg. The recent live introduction "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" was played almost every night. Both these titles would remain unreleased for another 18 months, until Morrissey's early 2009 album "Years Of Refusal" came out. There were two more unreleased songs in the set, but these would come out on Morrissey's "Greatest Hits" album in early 2008. "All You Need Is Me" was played regularly while "That's How People Grow Up" was done approximately two shows out of every three.
Morrissey's most recent album "Ringleader Of The Tormentors" was still well represented, but none of its songs were regulars at this point. The most played title from the album was "You Have Killed Me", and it was done about two thirds of the time. The single "I Just Want To See The Boy Happy" was done about half the time, just like "Dear God Please Help Me" which had only been played once so far on this tour. The epic "Life Is A Pigsty" and the single "In The Future When All's Well" were each played once out of every three shows, while "At Last I Am Born", "The Youngest Was The Most Loved" and "I Will See You In Far Off Places" were barely played anymore. The era's b-side "Human Being" made an unexpected return to the setlist, it was played five times. But more interesting is "Good Looking Man About Town", another b-side from the era. It had never been done before, was played here four times, and hasn't ever been performed since.
The previous album, 2004's "You Are The Quarry", was still heavily represented by its first two singles "Irish Blood, English Heart" and "First Of The Gang To Die", both having by then achieved some sort of classic status. "Let Me Kiss You" had been played regularly earlier in the year, but it was now downgraded to being a part-timer. Meanwhile, two songs from the album returned for the first time on this tour: "I Like You" and "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores". Each of these was played at about two shows out of three. The era's b-side "Ganglord" was played here and there when variety was needed.
Earlier on this tour fans had complained that Morrissey was neglecting "Vauxhall & I", one of his most loved albums. He made up for it here by re-introducing two numbers from it, "Billy Budd" and "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself". Neither had been done in many years, and were now performed every night, or almost. Overall the setlists were geared more towards Morrissey's back catalogue than they had ever been (well at least since the back catalogue was in fact the 'current' catalogue!). Old favourites "Tomorrow", "The Loop" and "Sister I'm A Poet" all returned for the first time in many many years, and were played almost every night. The fan favourite "Jack The Ripper" was also heard again, but only about two nights out of three. Finally "Interesting Drug" was reintroduced towards the end of this leg, but it was only played three times. Besides the above Morrissey's solo back catalogue was also represented by the following songs, all regulars at various points over the previous year, but now only played sporadically: "The Last Of The Famous International Playboys" (9 times), "The National Front Disco" (8 times), "Everyday Is Like Sunday" (6 times), "Disappointed" (5 times), "Whatever Happens, I Love You" (once), "You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side" (once) and "Lucky Lisp" (once).
Morrissey's older back catalogue, the one from the Smiths days, was also very well represented. A record number of 10 songs from the Smiths years were played throughout these dates. It must be said however they were never all performed every night. Still, some cities were treated to 6, 7 and even 8 Smiths songs in the same show. The most noticed titles were the debuting "Stretch Out And Wait" and "Death Of A Disco Dancer". Morrissey had never played either before, and the latter had never even been performed during the Smiths days. Both were regulars on this leg, just like the classic "How Soon Is Now?" and the returning "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before". Another noticed reintroduction was "London" which hadn't been performed in many years. It was semi-regular on this leg, just like "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want", "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" and the returning "Shoplifters Of The World Unite". "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me" was also played here for the first time on this tour, about one third of the shows were treated to it. Finally the ex-regular "Girlfriend In A Coma" was now done only four times.
Here is the number of times each song was performed on this leg, in descending order of frequency. This is based on 30 concerts.
How Soon Is Now? - 30
Click here for more tour statistics.
The standard main set closer at this point in time was "How Soon Is Now?". In it, the first occurrence of the line "of a shyness that is criminally vulgar" was rarely changed anymore. The second occurrence of the line was sometimes changed to "...that is crippling and vulgar". Now and then Morrissey would change one of the two occurrences of "how can you say, I go about things the wrong way" to "how can you say, I live my life the wrong way". He usually changed "you could meet somebody who really loves you" to "you could meet somebody who even likes you", or at worse "you could meet somebody who really likes you". Here and there he extended the line "and you cry and you want to die" with something like "what else?" or "of course!" He also often extended a line to "look at this face! all my hope is gone". The most noticed new change added during this leg was the one to "...and you leave on your own, so what!" which later turned into "...and you leave on your own, oh what a big surprise!". As always the studio version's final verse was never done.
In the first half of this leg "How Soon Is Now?" was preceded by "Life Is A Pigsty" or "Dear God Please Help Me". As earlier on the tour "Life Is A Pigsty" segued into "How Soon Is Now?" via the traditional air "Auld Lang Syne" (which echoed the ending of the Smiths' "Asleep"). When "Life Is A Pigsty" was replaced with "Dear God Please Help Me" there was no such segue at first, but then Morrissey adopted the same pattern. At the end of "Life Is A Pigsty" he still replaced "I only live for you" with "I have lived only for you", "I'm falling in love again" with "I am in love again" and "but I'm still the same underneath" with "how come I'm still the same underneath". For the first time in the live history of "Dear God Please Help Me" Morrissey made a recurring change when he switched "then he motions to me" for "when she motions to me".
Instead of the latter two numbers, it was "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" that preceded "How Soon Is Now?" in the latter portion of this leg. The song's chorus line was still always changed to "Please, please, please let me have who I want". As in the Smiths days the final two verses were 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 "London", just as he did during the Smiths days or in 1995 and 1997, Morrissey sang "My God he goes!" instead of "he really goes" and answered the first occurrence of the line "do you think you've made the right decision this time?" with "Oh no! Oh no!". A new change heard at this point in time was his following the second occurrence of the latter line with the shouted answer "Me? No!" (or something similar). "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me" featured the slow intro.
In these first live performances of "Stretch Out And Wait" since the Smiths days Morrissey made quite a few changes. He adopted the song's single version intro for most performances ("On the high-rise estates what's at the back of your mind? Oh the 3-day debate on the high-rise estate"), but here and there he switched to the intro of the song's alternate version as heard on the "The World Won't Listen" album ("On the high-rise estate what's at the back of your mind? Your face I can see and it's desperately kind"). When he did the latter intro, he would actually replace "desperately kind" with "moderately kind" or "more or less kind". At some point early on he introduced the change from "it's the Eskimo blood in my veins" to "it's the Manchester blood in my veins" and kept it on for the rest of the leg. He sang the "will the world end in the day time?" line before the "...night time" one instead of the other way around. For the first week he followed the question "is there any point ever having children?" with something like "I would say no", "lemme think... no!", "don't be silly" or "obviously, no!". Then for the remainder of this leg he would just point the microphone to the audience and let them supply a loud shout of "No!". He changed "how can you consciously contemplate" to "how can you stand there and contemplate". Very rarely did he do the usual Smiths-days change to "ignore all the silly codes of the day.
In "Billy Budd" Morrissey alternated between the standard "Did you hear? They turned me down" and the alternate "So what! They turned me down". The "12 years on" line was not altered anymore. There was no surprise in the returning "Sister I'm A Poet". Morrissey still sang "does anybody feel the way I do?" and "a plastic bag stranded at the lights, this once was me". However he often took the latter line further by singing "a plastic bag stranded at the traffic lights, this once was me" and always followed it with "brother I'm a..." instead of "sister I'm a..." The returning "Tomorrow" was more faithful to the studio version than on previous live performances. The first occurrence of "through my shiftless body" was rarely changed to "through this useless body", but the second occurrence was often changed to the latter, or to variations such as "through this hopeless body" or "through this ridiculous body". Morrissey also often sang "I never even said I wanted to" and "of course you don't mean it".
The crowd favourite "The Loop" was even more faithful to the original. Morrissey only changed "when you're bored" to "if you're bored". The live arrangement of the other returning crowd favourite "Jack The Ripper" was similar to the one from 2004, with outro breakdown. Morrissey dropped the song's final verse and replaced it with a repeat of the chorus over minimal music, almost accapella, and the audience would often sing along . Instead of the previously heard change to "you don't agree but you don't refuse me, I know you", he usually improvised changes such as "but you never refuse", "but you didn't refuse", "but you had to refuse" or "and yet you don't refuse", and often followed these with the question "do you?", "did you?" or "would you?" instead of singing "...I know you".
In "The Last Of The Famous International Playboys" Morrissey still did the mildly controversial change to "in our lifetime those who kill, Fox News hands them stardom". He sang "Reggie Kray always knew my name" and "Ronnie Kray always knew my name" and sometimes reversed the order of those two lines. As he often did in the early nineties he sang "just to make myself attracted to you". The returning "Interesting Drug" was rather faithful to the original. The only change, a minor one, was the extension to "have you ever felt had?". In "Disappointed" Morrissey generally stuck with the song's original first line "your unsleepable friend". However he always made the usual changes to "your friends and your foes would rather die than have to sleep with you", "I have spent my whole life confused because of people who were nice" and "Young girl one day you really will be old". He sometimes sang "Young boy please believe, I wanna help you" and "this world it may lack style, I should know". As always the audience supplied the shouts of "No!" at the end of the song. Following this, instead of singing "no I've changed my mind again", Morrissey simply went "Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!".
"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 "Everyday Is Like Sunday" he always replaced "etch on a postcard" with "scratch on a postcard" and this was usually (but not always) followed with "Oh Mama! how I dearly wish I was not here". The change to "please come please come nuclear bomb" was done most of the time. The line "trudging back over pebbles and sand" was sometimes followed with mumbled words, or something that sounded like "bum, ba-dum, ba-dum". The song's final line was usually 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 similar variation.
Morrissey still 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"). He also sang "someone kindly told me that you've thrown away every day of your teenage life". In "Whatever Happens, I Love You" he changed "we stole each other's clothes" to "we wore each other's clothes" as had done before in 1995 and earlier on this tour. In "Lucky Lisp" he changed "they couldn't get over your nine-leaved clover" to "they couldn't get over your Grandma's omen" and "he couldn't get over your Grandma's omen" to "he couldn't get over the psychic's omen". For the first (recorded) time he didn't replace the 'balcony fool' line with a repeat of "I will gurgle from the circle".
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 to "you'll try anyone twice" was done almost every night. The recently introduced "There's a place in the sun for anyone who has the nerve to chase one" was also done most of the time. Morrissey often adapted a line to the locality by singing "I've zigzagged all over Los Angeles" or "...Silverlake". In "I Like You" he alternated between the usual "resembles you" and the alternate "resembles me". He stopped changing "hiding their mistakes" to "shielding their mistakes", but still sometimes replaced "envy makes them cry" with "hatred makes them cry". The latter-day classic "Irish Blood, English Heart" still featured two standard changes: "you can see me standing by the flag not feeling shameful..." and "I've been dreaming of a time when Americans are sick to death of Republicans".
In the same political vein Morrissey changed the line "if the USA doesn't bomb you" in "I Will See You In Far Off Places" to "if George W Bush doesn't kill you", or even "if Bush! Bush! Bush! doesn't kill you". The latter number also featured the previously heard alteration to "It's so easy for us to stand here together but it's impossible for the flesh to combine". Morrissey was less playful than he had once been in "In The Future When All's Well" and usually reverted to the song's original lyrics. The only change done regularly was the one to "something must have gone wrong". The other previously heard minor changes such as "I will like down and be sat on" and "I thank you with what's left of my heart" were rarely done anymore. In "I Just Want To See The Boy Happy" Morrissey occasionally did minor changes such as "thank God soon I will be dead" and "for my own life I never cared anything". In "At Last I Am Born" he changed "historians note" to "somebody write this down" and "vulgarians note" to "vegetarians note".
Throughout the previous two years 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, Fellini I would rather be". If he was feeling playful he would change Pasolini to something improvised such as Che Guevara, or sing "Pasolini is me, me!. Further into that number he sang "Anne Sexton you will always be" or sometimes "Diana Dors you will never 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, while others such as "I entered nothing and look! nothing entered me" were rarely done anymore.
In "Ganglord" the "clock on the wall" was said to be "making fun" of us all instead of making "a joke". Morrissey usually sang "but what they really want to say is get back to the ghetto" and "get your fat ass back to the ghetto". In "Good Looking Man About Town" he didn't do the "hear the gang say" verse. He replaced "no one around to come down" with "...to calm me down" and "the dream becomes sand in my hands" with "the dream is just sand in my hands".
The sets on this leg of the Greatest Hits tour also featured four songs which had yet to be released (although none of the audiences were treated to all four songs on the same night). Some of these new compositions had not even been recorded in a studio yet. Therefore some lyric changes appeared as the songs evolved night after night, while others would only be noted after they were recorded and released. For example, future single "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" was very faithful to the version that would be recorded, but "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell" was more of a work-in-progress. In the latter title Morrissey sang "tiny children" instead of "smiling children" and ended the song with "so take me while you still have the time". By the time the song got recorded "take" had become "grab" and "you" had become "we".
In "That's How People Grow Up" Morrissey sometimes made the very minor changes from "someone who does not exist" to "someone who doesn't even exist" and from "someone's sweetie" to "somebody's sweetie". Instead of the early lyric "I was a small fat child in a council house" in new composition "All You Need Is Me" he sang "...welfare house" which was what he ended up recording for posterity. He also often sang "yet you remain here 'cause all you need is me" and "all you can do is stand there and complain about me" (or sit there..."). He dumbed-down the line "you roll your eyes up to the skies mock-horrified" by changing it to "you roll your eyes up to the skies and pretend to be horrified".
Collectors interested only in professionally filmed footage have very little material to look for. Five songs from Santa Barbara and four songs from the 11 October show at the Hollywood Palladium were featured in a Morrissey TV special titled "En Concierto" broadcast on Los Angeles' LATV at the end of 2007. Besides these nine full songs, the special also featured an interview with Morrissey conducted during the tour.
There are still a few nice audio souvenirs out there. Thanks to recorders Midy and nyctaper, excellent audience recordings of the complete 22 October, 23 October and 28 October shows have made it into the hands of concert collectors. Not only is the sound quality of those audience recordings excellent, but the tapers also captured quite well the energy of the audience. The other good thing about these is that because they are all from the same venue, Morrissey changed the set significantly from one night to the next, so these three recordings together feature 32 different songs out of the 44 ones Morrissey did throughout this leg. The 28 October recording will be particularly appealing for the rare live performance of "Good Looking Man About Town" (never done on earlier or later legs/tours) and the 2007 live arrangement of "Interesting Drug".
Recorder JG is responsible for good recordings of the Santa Barbara show as well as (at least) five of the eight Hollywood Palladium concerts. Again, because Morrissey significantly altered the setlist on his Palladium residency, together these recordings captured 41 of the 44 songs played on this leg of the tour, including "Lucky Lisp", "The Youngest Was The Most Loved" and "You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side" which were all done once only, and the rarer "Good Looking Man About Town" and "I Will See You In Far Off Places".
Collectors in search of more will want average to good audience recordings of the 6 October show at the Hollywood Palladium, the 17 October show in Waukegan, the 27 October show in New York and the 30 October show in Boston. Because there is so little to collect at this point in time, audio from video recordings has also made it in the trading circles. So audio from partial but still significant video recordings of the 27 September show in San Francisco, the 11 October Hollywood Palladium show and the final date in Melbourne, Florida are also found in traders' collections.
Besides the above there are a few other audio recordings in wide circulation, but these are only a few songs here and there. A full list can be found via the unofficial recordings section of this site.