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After extensively touring the United States in 2007 to promote his upcoming Greatest Hits album, Morrissey returned to the UK and France on the eve of the release of the latter compilation. This leg of the tour was put together around a six-date residency at the London Roundhouse. However illness forced Morrissey to interrupt one of those days after only four songs, and cancel the remaining two shows there.
Musicians: Boz Boorer (guitars), Jesse Tobias (guitars), Matt Walker (drums), Solomon Walker (bass) and Kristopher Pooley (keyboards). Morrissey played tambourine on certain songs such as "The Loop".
In England the above t-shirts were available until they sold out, at £22 each, and the following merchandise was added:
On returning to France after the British dates for one more show in Paris, two items were added to the merchandise table, both advertising the Paris concert in Art Nouveau style:
Videos, between opening act's and Morrissey's sets:
After the show the fans exited the venue to Frank Sinatra's "That's Life".
Content-wise the highlist of this leg was the live debut of two new compositions that would only be released on Morrissey's 2009 album "Years Of Refusal": "Something Is Squeezing My Skull" and "Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed". With recent additions "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell" and "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris", this meant that on a good night the crowd was treated to four songs that would remained unreleased for at least one more year. All this new material was welcomed by fans but of course some critics sarcasticallly commented that it hardly fitted a tour labeled Greatest Hits tour. The "Greatest Hits" album Morrissey had been promoting for a year now was finally about to be released so its lead single "That's How People Grow Up" and its planned follow-up "All You Need Is Me" were performed every night or almost.
Morrissey's most recent studio album "Ringleader Of The Tormentors" was still regulary represented by "I Just Want To See The Boy Happy" and the epic "Life Is A Pigsty" while the first single lifted from it, "You Have Killed Me", was only played on the very first date of the leg then dropped. 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, as well as "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores".
Morrissey's solo back catalogue from the 20th century was given a bit more of the spotlight than on the previous few years. "The Last Of The Famous International Playboys", "Sister I'm A Poet", "The Loop", "Billy Budd" and "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself" were all performed every night or almost. "Tomorrow", "The National Front Disco" and "Jack The Ripper" were brought in here and there for variety. The Smiths days were accounted for with the regular performance of "Death Of A Disco Dancer", the classic "How Soon Is Now?", "Stretch Out And Wait" and "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before". The crowd favourite "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" was only played regularly following its reintroduction halfway into the leg.
Here is the number of times each song was performed on this leg, in descending order of frequency. This is based on 11 concerts (including one aborted after only 4 songs).
The Last Of The Famous International Playboys - 11
Click here for more tour statistics.
The most common encore besides "The Last Of The Famous International Playboys" was "First Of The Gang To Die". The previously heard change in that song to "the first lost lad to go - where else? - under the sod" was rarely done anymore. However now and then Morrissey would follow the line "we are the pretty petty thieves" with a shout of "Look! Look!" In the classic "How Soon Is Now?", 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" or "...that is criminal 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 "you could meet somebody who can actually stand you". He also often extended a line to "...and you leave on your own, oh what a big surprise!", and another one to "look at this face! all my hope is gone", or even "look at this ugly face! all my hope is gone". One newly introduced change was the slight one to "When you say it's gonna happen now, now! well, when exactly do you mean?". As always the studio version's final verse was never done.
The epic "Life Is A Pigsty" still segued into the traditional air "Auld Lang Syne" (which echoed the ending of the Smiths' "Asleep"), but this didn't lead into "How Soon Is Now?" anymore. On some dates this segued into "The Loop", but most of the time there was a break and perhaps even some banter before the band launched into the next planned number. At the end of "Life Is A Pigsty" Morrissey 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". A newly noticed change was the one from "even now in the final hour" to "even now, yes now". The chorus of "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" 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 and keyboards, but not trumpet anymore now that Michael Farrell had been replaced with Kristopher Pooley.
Morrissey made quite a few changes in "Stretch Out And Wait". 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 on the second half of this leg 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 actually often replaced "desperately kind" with "really quite nice" or "really not bad". He regularly changed "it's the Eskimo blood in my veins" to "it's the Manchester blood in my veins" and "how can you consciously contemplate" to "how can you stand there and contemplate". At least twice he replaced "puny body" with "skinny body". He sang the "will the world end in the day time?" line before the "...night time" one instead of the other way around. He actually changed these lines every night, to something like "Will the world end in the daytime, I really hope so... or will the world end in the night time, don't ask me I don't know...", or to a similar variation. On the first half of the leg, following the line "is there any point ever having children?", he handed the microphone to someone in the audience who shouted the expected answer "No!". Then for the latter half of this segment Morrissey stopped doing that and usually shouted, moaned or sighed the answer "Noooo...." He surprisingly reintroduced the change to "ignore all the silly codes of the day" here and there. He had done this regularly during the Smiths days, but not so much in solo performances of the song up to this point.
In "Billy Budd" Morrissey used to replace "Did you hear? They turned me down" with the alternate "So what! they turned me down", but on this leg of the tour he changed this to "Thank God! they turned me down", or sometimes "Thank Christ!..." or "Of course!..." He also started to change the first or second occurrence of "so you think that you should" to "do you think that you could" or "do you think you even could". In "Sister I'm A Poet" he 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" or "a silly fool stranded at the traffic lights..." or "a silly thing..." He often replaced an occurrence or two of "sister I'm a..." with "brother I'm a..."
In "Tomorrow" Morrissey changed one or both occurrences of "through my shiftless body" to "through this useless body", "through this wretched body" or "through this ugly body". He also often sang "I never even said I wanted to" and "of course you don't mean it". The line "I won't tell anybody" was sometimes changed to "I won't tell anyone" or "I will tell everyone". The crowd favourite "The Loop" was quite faithful to its original form. Morrissey only changed "when you're bored" to "if you're bored". The live arrangement of "Jack The Ripper" was the one introduced in 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 often sang along . Morrissey still changed the line "but you don't refuse" in that song to "but just try to refuse" or something similar.
There were no surprises in "The National Front Disco". Morrissey did many changes, but they were the same ones as before. He 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 latter-day classic "Irish Blood, English Heart" he only did the change to "you can see me standing by the flag not feeling shameful..." a few times, then reverted to the line's original form. Of course now that he was back in Europe there was no need for him to sing anymore "I've been dreaming of a time when Americans are sick to death of Republicans".
In "I Just Want To See The Boy Happy" Morrissey sometimes sang "thank God soon I will be dead" and almost always "for my own life I never cared anything". In "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores" he occasionally made a new change to "say a quick prayer 'cause he's still there". Before this portion of the tour he had always been faithful to the original lyrics of "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself", but he now started making a few changes, such as "they have a special interest in that thing your career" or "your so-called career", and "what do you do, anyway!".
Recent compositions "That's How People Grow Up" and "All You Need Is Me" were about to be released and had been played for a reasonably long time by now, so they were not works-in-progress as much as they had been the year before. In the former number Morrissey sometimes made the very minor changes from "someone who does not exist" to "someone who doesn't even exist" or "somebody who doesn't even exist", and from "someone's sweetie" to "somebody's sweetie". In "All You Need Is Me" he rarely stuck to the original "you roll your eyes up to the skies mock-horrified" and often changed it instead to "you roll your eyes up to the skies and pretend that you're horrified". 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". In early live performances of the song he used to sing "I was a small fat child in a council house", which he changed to "...welfare house" when he recorded the song for posterity. However for the British dates of this segment of the tour he almost always reverted to the more British "...council house". For a brief period in the middle of this leg he followed the line "fate has just handed it to me" with a shout of "too late!" instead of "whoopee!".
"One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell" was debuted on the previous leg so understandably it had sometimes evolved perceptibly from one night to the next. By the time Morrissey tackled this leg he had settled on definitive lyrics for most of the song. However he still hesitated between the lines "with nothing to sell" and "I've got nothing to sell" and "smiling children" was changed at least once to "little children". In the song's final line "so grab me while we still have the time", "take" had permanently become "grab", but Morrissey still sang "you" instead of "we". Unlike the latter song, "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" had from the start been faithful to its studio form, as before this leg Morrissey had never really altered its lyrics. However on this leg he started changing "I travel all over the place" to something different like "I skate all over the place", "I scooter all over the place" or "I tour all over the place".
Out of the two new compositions, "Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed" was very faithful to the version that Morrissey would release a year later on "Years Of Refusal", but "Something Is Squeezing My Skull" was more of a work-in-progress. Instead of "something I can barely describe" Morrissey sang most of the time "something I just cannot describe". Instead of the studio version's "there is no love in modern life" he still sang "there is no hope in modern life". He alternated between "it's a miracle I even made it this far" and "it's a miracle I made it even this far". He often dropped the "when you" before "peel it back and bite me". He originally sang "there are no friends in modern life" and only by the end of the leg did he switch to the studio version's "no true friends in modern life". He originally sang "how long shall I stay on this stuff" and very early on switched to "how long must I stay on this stuff".
The complete Sunderland set minus 2 songs can be viewed in digital format on Youtube.
It must be said that most of the 22 January show at the London Roundhouse was webcast and recordings of this are also being traded amongst collectors of Morrissey bootlegs. The sound quality is good, but still not as much as they would be had they been recorded from radio. Many collectors prefer the audience recording of the same date to these slightly better sounding webcast recordings because it is complete and in proper order, and because the webcasts have very loud and irritating station ID's and/or DJ banter between every song.