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This tour, which was put together to promote Morrissey's compilation of b-sides titled "Swords", also served as additional promotion of his recent album "Years Of Refusal". The tour included rescheduled dates that had been cancelled earlier in the year (Birmingham, London-Royal Albert Hall, Salisbury, Lille, Paris). Unfortunately there would be an additional cancellation as Morrissey collapsed after doing only song in Swindon and couldn't make the next planned show in Bournemouth.

Morrissey barely had a chance to recover physically and mentally after this. He was back on the road three days later, and there would be more speed bumps ahead. In Liverpool, he walked out after being hit on the head by a bottle thrown by someone in the audience. In Hamburg, he lost his patience with a fan who told him to go fuck himself, and interrupted the show until that person was escorted out of the venue. In between those dates there were great shows, and some subpar ones. Fans complained about the setlist, the venues, but bar a few shows here and there, they complained mostly of Morrissey's lack of enthusiasm and communication. The most common comment was that Morrissey should have taken some time off to rest instead of touring "Swords".

Musicians: Boz Boorer (guitars, clarinet), Jesse Tobias (guitars), Matt Walker (drums), Solomon Walker (bass) and Gustavo Manzur (keyboards, accordion, harmonica, guitar, etc).

 


Doll And The Kicks.

 


The following merchandise has been reported:
-Black track jacket with Ivy League style 'M' on left breast, 40/40 euros, view.
-Light pink/lilac 'Sweetie Pie' women's v-neck t-shirt with an anchor tattoo motive on the front and 'Morrissey' on the back across the shoulders (image needed).
-Blue and grey 'Good Looking Man About Town' t-shirt with 'Morrissey' on the back, 30 euros, view.
-Red 'Swords' t-shirt with Morrissey's head over Union jack, view.
-Dark blue 'Royal Albert Hall' t-shirt sold at that venue only, view.
-Blue Swords Tour t-shirt, tour dates on back, perhaps only sold on the continent, 30 euros view.
-Black Swords Tour t-shirt, perhaps only sold in continental Europe, 30 euros view.
-Black Swords album art t-shirt, UK/Europe tour dates on back, 30 euros view.
-Brown Irish-style road-sign 'Swords' t-shirt, 30 euros, (image needed).
-Light blue women's t-shirt with Eiffel Tower and "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris", perhaps sold only in Germany, 30 euros, a lighter blue variation on this (image needed).
-Black t-shirt with white Morrissey face Johnny-Cash style, perhaps sold only in Germany, 30 euros, view.
-Key ring with same road-sign design mentioned for brown t-shirt above (image needed).
-West Ham style claret and blue striped scarf with 'Morrissey' written down its length and 'Swords' at each end in small text, 12, view. In Liverpool the scarf sold out and was replaced with a black and grey variation (image needed).
-'I Swerve for Morrissey' car sticker, 5 euros, view.
-Black tote bag with white Morrissey face Johnny-Cash style, sold only in the UK (image needed).
-Red tote bag with Union Jack crest and Morrissey' name, sold in Europe, view.
-Poster showing "Swords" album cover art, view.
-Poster showing "Years Of Refusal" album artwork, perhaps only in continental Europe, 15 euros, view.

 


Music, before opening band:
Operatic aria(s) (maybe Maria Callas' "Ebben? Ne Andro Lontana" and "Samson and Delilah")
Velvet Underground - Sister Ray
Fall - (perhaps Lie Dream Of A Casino Soul)
Velvet Underground - The Gift
Plus more; the missing songs may have been more or less what was reported for the subsequent American leg of the tour.

Videos, between opening act's and Morrissey's sets:
Content and order are approximate.
-(Some guy rings a bell and says school is in session)
-Millie Small: "My Boy Lollipop" (from Finnish TV)
-Sparks: "This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us"
-Shocking Blue: "Mighty Joe"
-Alan Price Set: "Simon Smith And His Amazing Dancing Bear" [perhaps not everywhere]
-Nico: I'm Not Saying
-Lou Reed press conference excerpt
-Rita Pavone: "Cuore"
-(School bell guy again)
-New York Dolls: "Looking For A Kiss" (live Musik Laden)
-Joe Dolan: "You're Such A Good Looking Woman"
-Lypsinka: (lip-synching to an old movie soundtrack clip) [not everywhere; replaced NY Dolls]

Morrissey walked on stage at the end of the instrumental drone outro to his song "You Were Good In Your Time".

After the show, fans exited the venue to Frank Sinatra's "My Way", and perhaps on some occasions to "That's Life" by the same singer.

 


Italian actor Walter Chiari, view in situ. There was no backdrop in Dublin.

 


Although this tour was called the Swords tour, its setlist only featured 3 or 4 songs from that compilation of b-sides. "Ganglord", "Teenage Dad On His Estate" and "Because Of My Poor Education" were done every night or almost, while "Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice" was added in Paris and kept on for the rest of this leg. "Teenage Dad On His Estate" had never been done live before, and "Because Of My Poor Education" had only been played live 3 times earlier in the year.

Morrissey's most recent album of new material "Years Of Refusal" was still quite well represented. "Black Cloud", "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris", "I'm OK By Myself", "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell" and "When Last I Spoke To Carol" were setlist regulars. "Something Is Squeezing My Skull" was added almost halfway into this leg when it became the standard encore.

The only song from 2006's "Ringleader Of The Tormentors" was the epic "Life Is A Pigsty", and it was done only once, on the first date of this tour, then dropped. Although older, 2004's "You Are The Quarry" was better represented than "Ringleader Of The Tormentors". "Irish Blood, English Heart", "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores" were done every night, while "First Of The Gang To Die" was done for more than half the audiences.

Morrissey's earlier solo years were only represented by regulars "The Loop" and "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself?". His unrecorded cover of Sparks' "Moon Over Kentucky", which had been done twice earlier in the year, was done once more only on this tour, at London's Alexandra Palace.

The Smiths back catalogue was still very well represented. "How Soon Is Now?", "Cemetry Gates", "Death At One's Elbow", "Is It Really So Strange?" and standard set opener "This Charming Man" were done at every show where Morrissey did the complete planned set. "Ask" was done every night after it replaced "Nowhere Fast" which was played four times only before being dropped. It must be said that "Cemetry Gates" and "Nowhere Fast" were done here for the first time by Morrissey without the Smiths, and "Death At One's Elbow" had only been played live once before, at a one-off concert in 1988.

Here is the number of times each song was performed on this leg, in descending order of frequency. This is based on 18 concerts.

This Charming Man - 18
Black Cloud - 17
Cemetry Gates - 16
Death At One's Elbow - 16
Ganglord - 16
How Soon Is Now? - 16
I'm OK By Myself - 16
I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris - 16
Is It Really So Strange? - 16
One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell - 16
Teenage Dad On His Estate - 16
The Loop - 16
The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores - 16
When Last I Spoke To Carol - 16
Irish Blood, English Heart - 15
Because Of My Poor Education - 14
Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself? - 13
Ask - 12
First Of The Gang To Die - 10
Something Is Squeezing My Skull - 10
Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice - 7
Nowhere Fast - 4
Life Is A Pigsty - 1
Moon Over Kentucky - 1

Click here for more tour statistics.

 


Morrissey tends to improvise lyric changes in older numbers more often than he does in newer ones. So it's no surprise that the songs most transformed on these dates were the ones from the Smiths back catalogue, particularly the classics "Ask", "Is It Really So Strange?" and "How Soon Is Now?". The latter number, a live staple, was actually updated with almost every tour. On this one Morrissey introduced the new change "I'm still the son, the son and heir", done on both occurrences of the line. The second of these was sometimes followed with a shout of "of what!?". The first occurrence of the line "of a shyness that is criminally vulgar" was rarely altered, but the second occurrence was always changed to "...that is crippling and vulgar". Both occurrences of "how can you say, I go about things the wrong way" were changed to "how can you say, I live my life the wrong way" until halfway into this leg when Morrissey reverted to the original form. He always replaced "you could meet somebody who really loves you" with "you could meet somebody who can even stand you" and always followed the line "so you go on your own and you leave on your own" with a shout of "oh what a big surprise!". The change to "When you say it's gonna happen now, now! well, when exactly do you mean? You see I've already waited too long and most of my life has gone" was also always done. The studio version's final verse was still excluded from the live arrangement of the song.

In the first verse of "Ask", Morrissey now stuck to the original "from doing all the things in life that you like to" most of the time, but now and then he would sing "from doing all the things in life that you want to". In the second verse he sang "from being all the things in life that you want to". He rarely replaced the second occurrence of "nature is a language can't you read" with "nature is a language, can anybody read". The change to "if it's not love, then it's military might, it's macho military might that will bring us together" was almost standard. He now rarely followed this with variations on "in the meantime, ask me, ask me, ask me" or "meanwhile, ask me, ask me, ask me".

In "Is it Really So Strange" Morrissey always changed "I found a tiny house" to "I found a modest house", just like he did in 2000 when the song was last part of his set. He never changed "Oh yes you can kick me, and you can punch me, and you can break my face" anymore, but in the following verse he alternated between the original "Oh yes you can punch me, and you can butt me, and you can break my spine" and variations such as "Oh yes you can chin me, and you can butt me", "Oh yes you can kick me, and you can butt me" or "Oh yes you can kick me, and you can skin me". He introduced the new change to "I was bagged in Newport Pagnell", which at some point into this leg morphed into "I was gagged in Newport Pagnell".

"This Charming Man" was more transformed musically than lyrically, as it was given a pub-rocky sound and stripped of its jangle line. The only lyric change in the latter number was the one to "when the pleather runs smooth on the passenger seat". In "Cemetry Gates" Morrissey alternated between the original "we gravely read the stones" and the reversed "we stonely read the graves". After a few dates he started changing a line to "which seems unfair, I want to die" which is close to the way the song had originally been written before being recorded.

In "Death At One's Elbow" Morrissey truncated the second occurrence of a line to "don't come to the house tonight". More interestingly, he sang the less busy "you'll slip on the trail of my sad remains", which was followed with "that's why I say goodbye my love". In the very few performances of "Nowhere Fast" he shortened both occurrences of a line to the more decided "I'd probably jump in the ocean". Further into the song he sang "every sensible child should know what this means" and "neither one, neither one appeals to me".

The crowd favourite "The Loop" was kept to its original form. Morrissey only changed "when you're bored" to "if you're bored", as he always does. He stopped doing most of the previously heard changes in "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself", or he would do them once only, on a whim. The only change heard more than once was the very occasional "some men here, they have a special interest in your funny career". The only semi-regular change in "First Of The Gang To Die" was the on-and-off one to "the first lost lad to go - where else? - under the sod".

Morrissey stopped singing "you can see me standing by the flag not feeling shameful..." in "Irish Blood, English Heart". Here and there in the latter number he would sing "never racist or partial". Halfway into this leg he introduced the previously unheard "and denounce these horrible royals that still salute him". He would add to the song's outro an improvised and undecipherable series of shouts (ed notes: has anyone ever been able to decipher anything?). In "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores", the changes to "they who wish to crush you" and "say a quick prayer 'cause he's still there" were the only regular ones. In the newly introduced "Teenage Dad On His Estate" Morrissey sometimes sang "You defer to the views of the television news, why?" and usually sang "you find everything there except the news". He never made any of the previously heard minor changes in "Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice".

In the epic "Life Is A Pigsty" Morrissey still replaced "I only live for you" with "I have lived only for you", "but I'm still the same underneath" with "how come I'm still the same underneath" and "I can't reach you" with "I can't help you". In "Ganglord" he constantly alternated between variations such as "the clock on the wall makes fun", "the clock on the wall makes a joke" and "there's a clock on the wall making fun of us all". He returned to the original lyrics instead of doing the earlier standard change to "but what they really want to say is get back to the ghetto". At the end of that song he often sang "get your fat ass back to the ghetto" as he had done before, and also sometimes followed this with "get your scrawny ass back to the ghetto" or similar variations.

Morrissey barely made changes in "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" anymore. He stopped singing "in the absence of any kind of touch". He would sometimes improvise a change such as "I rollerblade all over the place", but most of the time he would stick to that line's original form. In "Something Is Squeezing My Skull" he often changed the line "when you peel it back and bite me" to something different, such as "'scuse me would you peel it back and bite me", "somebody peel it back and bite me" or "for God's sake peel it back and bite me". He often extended a line to "there are no true friends in modern life". In "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell" he occasionally sang "I have been thinking, really?" and regularly did "look at me I'm a savage beast". Towards the end of this leg he came up with a new variation when instead of the final line he would just repeat "while... while... while..." There were no significant or regular changes made in "I'm OK By Myself".

"Black Cloud" was quite faithful to its original arrangement. In the latter number Morrissey usually sang "I can sink even lower than usual". In "When Last I Spoke To Carol" he very rarely sang "I can't pretend life gets easier". He always did "along life's narrow ledge" and now and then would sing "across this ugly face of mine". He almost always replaced "something I always knew" with "one thing I still know". He extended a line in "Because Of My Poor Education" to "I've lived my whole life without affection" and sang the alternate "kind people they look at me and say". He changed that song's final line to "reality, it's never been real to me". The cover "Moon Over Kentucky" was faithful to the Sparks original.

 


Nothing from these dates has been featured on an official release at this point in time.

 


The London Royal Albert Hall show was filmed up to halfway into "The Loop" by Steve from Soundsville International. His raw footage is not circulated, but a version patched up with Youtube footage is widely circulated on DVDs. At this point in time, this is the only significant video bootleg of this first leg of the Swords Tour in circulation.

 


At least a dozen concerts from this leg of the Swords tour have been recorded for posterity, but at this point in time only nine of them have recordings in common circulation. The sound quality doesn't vary much between them: the worse sound average, and the best sound reasonably good. None are exceptionally good, and none are mediocre. Therefore non-completists interested in this period of Morrissey's live career might prefer looking at the setlist before making their choice.

The recordings of Birmingham and London Royal Albert Hall are the only ones to feature "Nowhere Fast" which was only played four times. The former of those two also features this leg's only performance of "Life Is A Pigsty", but then, that song was done very often on earlier tours. Collectors interested in more should look out for recordings of Salisbury, Brentwood, Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Dublin. The least interesting recording is obviously the Liverpool one because that concert was aborted after one song and a half.