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Morrissey returned to play shows in North America for the first time in five years. The Maladjusted tour was meant to promote the album of the same name, but it also served to promote "Southpaw Grammar" and "Vauxhall & I" which hadn't been toured in that part of the world. Actually, as the tour progressed, and especially on the second leg (the first one is covered here), tracks from "Maladjusted" were gradually dropped while more and more from the latter two albums were added to the setlist.
Although the tour was a success, Morrissey didn't seem as much into it as he did in 1991 and 1992, or like he would be in 1999 on the Oye Esteban tour. In retrospect he often seemed to be going through the motions, or at least until he hit the west coast halfway into this leg. It must be said that he fell ill to the flu two weeks after the tour's beginning (which led to two shortened sets in Chicago and the cancellation of Minneapolis) and that he must have been feeling it creeping up before that.
On the up side for many, he was more sexually graphic than ever. While singing "Wide To Receive" he rubbed himself against the microphone stand, caressed it with his legs and at times looked as if he was kissing or fellating it. He also teasingly waved his finger at crotch level during the 'standing at the urinal' line in "The Boy Racer".
Personnel: Boz Boorer (guitar), Alain Whyte (guitar), Jonny Bridgwood (bass) and Spencer Cobrin (drums).
- A white shirt with a sepiatone photo of Morrissey sitting on porch steps with a young girl in the background, looking away. Morrissey's name in gold on the back. Offered in L and XL, 20$ to 25$ depending on the city. View.
- Another shirt was added to the merchandise table in San Diego after the white one described above was sold out. This one was a grey sport-style shirt with "Morrissey Swimming" in yellow on the front, in an arc. 25$.
- The "two lumps please" mug from the 1995 shows in the UK were sold for 12$ in Petaluma and San Francisco. They were supposedly sold out after that, although it is not impossible that some were for sale on certain dates of the second leg of this tour.
There wasn't any merchandise for sale until the Seattle concert and by the time Morrissey arrived in Los Angeles, everything was sold out.
The Ramones' "Beat On The Brat" might have been included in some cities.
Erik Satie's piano "Gymnopedies no 1", "Gnossiennes" and others from the album "After the Rain" were heard before certain concerts, perhaps before the support band.
- Young girl crying, used before concerts early in the tour.
The newest album "Maladjusted" was represented by six of its tracks. The title song was the standard set opener for most of this leg. Singles "Alma Matters" and "Roy's Keen" were regulars, while other single-to-be "Satan Rejected My Soul" was regular for the first half, then mostly neglected. The sexually charged and live favourite "Wide To Receive" as well as the not-so-favourite "Ambitious Outsiders" were the other songs chosen to promote the latest release.
"Southpaw Grammar"'s "The Boy Racer" was played every night, just like "Reader Meet Author" after its introduction in the set a few dates into the tour. An edited "The Teachers Are Afraid Of The Pupils" was introduced after a few weeks and played on most dates. "Dagenham Dave" was only played a handful of times throughout this leg. Finally the lesser known "Southpaw Grammar"-era b-side "Nobody Loves Us" was performed on and off to add a bit of variety to the setlist.
1994's "Vauxhall & I" was as present in the sets as the two albums that had been released after it. "Now My Heart Is Full", "Billy Budd" and "Speedway" were setlist regulars. "The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get" was more or less neglected in the first half, but was faithfully performed in the second. "Hold On To Your Friends" was introduced near the end of this leg of the tour and played three times.
The only other Morrissey song not mentioned above was the non-album 1995 single "Sunny" which was played on and off.
As for the Smiths-era material, "Shoplifters Of The World Unite" had been the standard encore in the UK and Japan in 1995, so its presence in the setlist was not really a surprise. The real surprise however was the first ever live performance of the Smiths-era's "Paint A Vulgar Picture". It had never been performed before, with or without the Smiths.
Here is the number of times each song was performed on this leg, in descending order of frequency. This is based on 21 concerts.
Alma Matters - 21
Click here for more tour statistics.
When Morrissey did "Nobody Loves Us" in 1995, he often messed the "Call us home" lines, by following those words by "..tuck us in" instead of "kiss our cheeks" or "make our tea", or vice versa, etc. On this tour he still did it on a very few occasions, but not as much - he was more faithful to the studio version's lyrics. In "Now My Heart Is Full", Morrissey simplified a line by dropping the word 'puny' from "just some rain-coated lovers' puny brothers". He also sang "I was tired again" instead "I'm tired again". "Ambitious Outsiders" was dramatized by Morrissey by using lights to make shadow puppets on the ceiling. In "Roy's Keen" Morrissey replaced "I will be set alight" by "but that's alright" and skipped the whole "Don't say you'll hold it steady... (to) we trust you to wreck it" verse.
Morrissey made quite a few lyrical changes in "Paint A Vulgar Picture", such as "please depressing Belgians" instead of "please the press in Belgium". At some point halfway into the leg he started singing "BPI, MTV, BBC, kiss their arses" and later moved to "MTV, MTV, MTV, kiss their arses". The last verse of that song was always dropped, bringing up the ending after the first occurrence of "me and my 'true love' will never meet again". In "Reader Meet Author" Morrissey often changed a line to "Say, have you ever escaped from a shipwrecked life?" or "I say, have you ever escaped from a shipwrecked life?". Halfway into the tour, he added the change "If a fight broke out here tonight, I'd be the first away because I'm that type". He also spiced up certain songs, such as "The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get" in which he followed "Ah, you're asking for it..." with "...and it you shall get" (which was often misheard by some as "Ah, I need to shag it").
Morrissey was always very sexy in his performance of "Wide To Receive", in a way fans were not yet used to in 1997. In the song he sometimes changed a line to "unlock, success" instead of "unlock, progress", and another one to "almost anything you'd care to give" instead of "almost anything you'd care to leave", or vice versa. In "Speedway", the intro lines "And when you slam down the hammer can you see it in your heart?" were dropped and Morrissey changed lines to "all of the rumours leaving me grounded" (a few times) and "when you try to break my spirit, it just won't happen" (almost always). He also sometimes reversed the "You won't rest" and "You won't sleep" lines, or sang "You won't rest" both times.
"Dagenham Dave" was played for the first time on its own. In previous live performances in 1995, it was always played as a medley with "The Operation". The live version of "Hold On To Your Friends" was more electric, harder than the album version or the typical live version of the 1995 tours. After being added to the setlist, "The Teachers Are Afraid Of The Pupils" became the standard set closer before the band left for the pre-encore break. As on previous tours from 1995, that song's two verses starting with "Say the wrong word" were dropped so the live version wouldn't last 10 minutes like the song does on "Southpaw Grammar". However the sample at the end wasn't dropped.
The best recording from this first leg of the Maladjusted tour is that of the second San Francisco show. The sound quality is very good for an audience recording, and Morrissey's performance on that night was one of the best on this tour. Then Vancouver is a very good second choice. The sound quality is just slightly inferior, and the set included 5 songs not featured in the first suggestion: "Maladjusted", "Wide To Receive", "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get", "Roy's Keen" and "The Teachers Are Afraid Of The Pupils". One of the two recordings of the Boston concert may also interest many as the sound quality is good and Morrissey sang 15 songs instead of 14, including four of the five mentioned above. However beware of the other Boston recording in circulation, it is incomplete and sounds poorly.
Collectors interested in more should then look for New York, Montreal, Toronto (2 different recordings available), Washington, Cleveland, Kalamazoo, Chicago (first night), Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles. These sound fair, average or reasonably good at best. The earlier dates have longer setlists, but don't feature songs introduced in the set only halfway into the tour. Also Morrissey was in better spirits once he hit the west coast, halfway into this leg.
Finally only completists will be interested in poor and subpar audience recordings of Providence, Petaluma, San Francisco (first night) and Las Vegas.