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Morrissey spent the autumn of 1999 touring Europe, including countries like Portugal and Greece which he had never visited before, with or without the Smiths.
The most notable change must have been the increase in security. Throughout these dates less than a handful of fans made it on stage. At Morrissey's request no one was allowed on stage, which came as a great surprise to many. Morrissey (or his insurance company) must have wanted to prevent another accident like guitarist Alain Whyte's back injury which had been worsened in a melée in Santa Barbara the month before.
The general attire for this tour was a blue West Ham Boys Club t-shirt worn under a jacket (except on the last few dates of this section). The t-shirt usually ended up in the audience, just like the second one worn for the encore.
Personnel: Boz Boorer (guitars), Alain Whyte (guitars), Gary Day (bass) and Spike T Smith (drums). The latter's drumming performance improved significantly during this European leg. It must be said that most of Morrissey's material was new to him.
The set wasn't hit-oriented. The first songs in the usual order were fast ones to set the tone of the evening. "You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side", "The Boy Racer", "Billy Budd", "Reader Meet Author", the Smiths' "Is It Really So Strange?" and "Hairdresser On Fire" were performed every night, usually at the top of the list. Other regulars were "Speedway", "Tomorrow", "Meat Is Murder", "Trouble Loves Me", "Break Up The Family" and the mandatory encore "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me".
"Lost", "Now My Heart Is Full" and "November Spawned A Monster" were performed on most nights but not all. "Sunny", "Alma Matters" and "Roy's Keen" were played on and off. "The Teachers Are Afraid Of The Pupils" was played once only.
Here is the number of times each song was performed on this leg, in descending order of frequency. This is based on 15 concerts.
Billy Budd - 15
Click here for more tour statistics.
Morrissey was at his most playful with his older material, and "Hairdresser On Fire" is the best example. The Oye Esteban version started with the alternate lines "Where is London, so much for London" and other occurrences of "here is London" were replaced by "so much for London" as well. Morrissey sang "psychologically shave me" and sometimes even "supernaturally shave me", replaced "you are repressed but you're remarkably dressed, is it real?" by "you might be depressed, but you're remarkably dressed, and that's all you need" and sang "and you're all so busy", "stoned around Sloane Square", "when he said I'm gonna screw you, I really felt happy for you", "home of the flash, outrageous and free" or "home of the rash, outrageous and free" and finally "too busy to kiss me".
In "Break Up The Family" Morrissey replaced "I want to see all my friends tonight" with "I want to be with my friends tonight", "to move away from those younger years" and "...darker years" with "to move away from those awful times" and "I'm in love for the first time" with "I'm in love for the last time". He also sang "I'm so glad to be older" and "resigned well we were to ending my life" on a few select occasions. The 1999 performances of "Meat Is Murder" were always very heartfelt and powerful. The new Oye Esteban tour arrangement of this song was very dramatic. Morrissey always sang it under red spotlights, with a lot of emotion in his voice and ended it with the alternate question "And do you care how animals die?"
In "Is it Really So Strange" Morrissey changed "I found a tiny house" to "I found a modest house", and even sang "I found a humble house" at some point. Further down he sang "Oh yes you can chin me, and you can shin me, and you can dislocate my shoulder (blade) but you won't change the way I feel", or similar variations using the verbs chin, shin or butt. The funniest change was the one to "I lost my wig in Newport Pagnell". Then the final line was sometimes changed to "I can never go back home alone".
In "November Spawned A Monster" Morrissey sang "You're just so ugly, you're so ugly" and "Oh hug me, please hug me" on a few occasions, "I'm so ugly" a few times, and very often "could you even bear to kiss me full on the mouth or anywhere". More interestingly he sang "but she'll be walking your streets in the clothes that she went out and stole for herself". In "You're Gonna Need Someone On Your Side" a line was changed to "Someone kindly told me that you've collected... Stanley knives" or "Someone kindly told me that you've collected.. very sharp knives". For some reason the more common change "Someone kindly told me that you've collected very sharp bread knives" wasn't done much anymore. He also introduced the new change "Oh you don't need to look so peeved". That song always segued in quick succession into "The Boy Racer".
In "Tomorrow" Morrissey replaced "something that you never do" with "...that you'll never do", "I won't tell anybody" with "I won't tell anyone" or "I won't tell everyone", and the second or even sometimes both occurrences of "through my shiftless body" to "through my miserable body". On three or four occasions "Billy Budd" was updated by changing a line from "now it's 12 years on" to "now it's 18 years on" although to keep up with the chronology it should have been "...17 years on". The Oye Esteban tour version of "Speedway" still lacked the album version's three opening lines. The line "it won't work" was always changed to "it's never gonna happen", "it just won't happen" or "it won't happen". On most dates Morrissey sang "you won't smile until my (or this) ugly mouth is shut (or gets shut) good and proper". This was often followed by a shout of "Yes!" instead of "...forever".
In "Now My Heart Is Full" Morrissey dropped the word 'puny' in "just some rain-coated lovers' puny brothers", thus making the vocal delivery easier. The line "I'm tired again - I tried again" was usually changed to "I was tired again, I tried again". Morrissey also often changed "jammy Stressford poet" to the more autobiographical "jammy Stretford poet". In "The Boy Racer" he sang "I'm just too good looking" a few times and mumbled, breathed loudly or made funny noises instead of singing the line "I'm gonna kill him". A banana was again waved at crotch level during the 'urinal' line in that song. The only constant change in "Reader Meet Author" was "you hear the way this sad voice sings". Other changes such as "have you ever escaped from a Lisbon life" or "I'd be the first away because I'm that type" were one-offs.
Just as he had done on the 1997 Maladjusted tour Morrissey replaced the line "I will be set alight" in "Roy's Keen" with "but that's alright" and skipped the eight lines that followed. On most nights he sang "we've never seen a keener midfielder". He replaced "Smiling on time" by "frowning on time" at least once. He introduced the new change "well it's here right under your nose and you just can't smell it, can you?". On one occasion in "Alma Matters" he sang "it's my life to end my own way". He also sang "So, the life I have blown away" or "...I have thrown away" instead of "So, the life I have made". He sometimes replaced "it may seem strange" by "it may seem wrong" or "it may seem wrong" by "it may seem shit" and "it's my life to wreck my own way" by "it's my life to ruin my own way".
In "Trouble Loves Me" Morrissey replaced "otherwise hold me" and "otherwise kill me" respectively by "oh somebody hold me" and "somebody kill me". He also sang "which is only the way it should be" in most if not all performances of the song. Strangely in "Sunny" he changed a line to "they're not forgiving me, and I'm not even wrong". He also often sang "tell us all how things are no better" instead of "tell us all how things are so much better". As in previous live performances of "The Teachers Are Afraid Of The Pupils", only the first verse was done, followed by the litany of "to be finished would be a relief", so that the song would not last 10 minutes like it does on the album.
Content-wise collectors might want to look out for the songs that were played less often than others. "The Teachers Are Afraid Of The Pupils" was only played in Cologne but that concert is not circulated on bootlegs. "Sunny" was played only six times and is available on recordings of Deinze, Berlin and Stockholm.