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Morrissey – How Soon Is Berlin? (The Swingin’ Pig TSP-CD-5116/5117)

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How Soon Is Berlin? (The Swingin’ Pig TSP-CD-5116/5117)

Arena Treptow, Berlin, Germany – December 17th, 2006 

Disc 1:  Opener (Deutschlandlied), Panic, First Of The Gang To Die, The Youngest Was The Most Loved, You Have Killed Me, introduction, Disappointed, Ganglord, I’ll Never Be Anybody’s Hero, Irish Blood English Heart, I Will See You In Far Off Places, Girlfriend In A Coma, Everyday Is Like Sunday, In The Future When All’s Well, I’ve Changed My Plea To Guilty, Let Me Kiss You, National Front Disco, Dear God Please Help Me, How Soon Is Now?, I Just Want To See The Boy Happy

Disc 2:  Life Is A Pigsty, Please Please Let Me Get What I Want, Don’t Make Fun Of Daddy’s Voice.  Bonus tracks, Dublin Castle, Dublin, Ireland – June 5th, 2004:  Irish Blood English Heart, Subway Train/Everyday Is Like Sunday, Such A Little Thing Makes Such A Big Difference, I’m Not Sorry, How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?, Let Me Kiss You, Don’t Make Fun Of Daddy’s Voice, A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours, The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores, Now One Can Hold A Candle To You, Shoplifters Of The World Unite, America Is Not The World, Rubber Ring, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

How Soon Is Berlin? is the latest release on The Swingin’ Pig label.  It contains two radio broadcasts from the past couple of years, the first from Berlin and the second from Dublin used as filler.  The Berlin occupies the majority of the release taking up the first disc and the first part of the second.  Like previous Swingin’ Pig titles the tape is in crystal clear sound quality with no evidence of being taped off the radio sounding as good as an official release.  The broadcast is missing “William, It Was Really Nothing”, which was played after “I’ll Never Be Anybody’s Hero Now”.  Also edited out are many of the between song talking to make the show fit into tight ninety minute format.  Berlin occurs near the end of the fifth 2006 Tour Of The Tormentors. 

This short tour began on November 14th in Guadalajara, Mexico, had one US date in Chicago, and finished on December 23rd in Manchester, England.  Eyewitnesses of the gig confirm the show was a sellout but some say he appeared tired while others say he was in great mood and was “smiling to all of us without leaving anyone out”.  Many songs off of the latest album Ringleader Of The Tormentors was played including ”I Will See You In Far Off Places”, “Dear God Please Help Me”, “You Have Killed Me”, “The Youngest Was The Most Loved” “In The Future All’s Well”, “Life Is A Pigsty”, “I’ll Never Be Anybody’s Hero Now”, and “I Just Want To See The Boy Happy” the latest single released on December 3rd.  The introductory music consists of Franz Josef Hayden’s tune “Austria” played on the organ before the band come out and open with The Smith’s hit “Panic”.

“Hello, welcome to the human abattoir” he says afterwards.  Morrissey’s music, both with The Smiths and solo is an interesting conglomeration of morbid, hateful lyrics to the happy eighties beat and hearing a concert is much like watching his soul being sliced and butchered before you.  He speaks about the new album before the band launch into “You Have Killed Me”.  Afterwards Morrissey introduces the band by saying, “they are so shy they refuse looking at themselves in the mirror.”  After a moving version of “Ganglord” he addresses the city of Berlin by saying, “your city is an unspeakably beautiful place.  Assuming this Warsaw.  Just kidding.” He follows with a great version of ”I’ll Never Be Anybody’s Hero” during which he wears the Warsaw scarf given to him by some fans in the front row. 

There is a cut in the tape after “I’ll Never Be Anybody’s Hero”.   “Everyday Is Like Sunday” is a definite highlight in the middle of the set.  Afterwards he says, “so it’s a wet Sunday in December and what the hell are you doing here?  Do you know?  I will smoke the cigar during this next song” before “In The Future When All’s Well”.  The set ends with a long version of “Life Is A Pigsty”.  When they come out for the encores Morrissey says, “I would like to remind you that after the concert, I will be for sale in the lobby.  However I am an expensive date. I will see you in far off places.”  ”Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” is the first followed by a spirited version of “Don’t Make Fun Of Daddy’s Voice”.  This is an excellent broadcast and it is a shame there are so many edits since there were many interesting events like when the singer is pelted with a book.

Bonus tracks originate from a radio broadcast from Irish Radio 2.  This is Morrissey’s gig for the Heineken Green Energy Festival over the June bank holiday on June 5th, 2004.  The concert is set at the Dublin Castle and this is sourced from the actual broadcast several days after the event including DJ commentary at the beginning.  The bulk of the performance is present with the first two songs, “First Of The Gang To Die” and “Hairdresser On Fire” missing along with “I Have Forgiven Jesus”.  The Dublin Castle Festival gig went down very well but it might be remembered less for Morrissey’s performance than for a comment made about Ronald Reagan’s death which is naturally edited from the recording. 

The 14 songs from the radio broadcast are easily found on a factory pressed bootleg titled Green Energy and Poet’s Justice, which also includes 5 songs performed for Zane Lowe’s (“Irish Blood English Heart”, “First Of The Gang To Die” and “Shoplifters Of The World Unite”) and John Peel’s (“Don’t Make Fun Of Daddy’s Voice” and “No One Can Hold A Candle To You”) BBC radio programmes on 19 May 2004. This is also found with the alternate title Green Energy.  A different title You Ate The Curry, features the same 14-song radio broadcast, paired with various 2004 radio sessions including “Don’t Make Fun Of Daddy’s Voice” (Peel session), “Shoplifters Of The World Unite” (Zane Lowe session), “I’m Playing Easy To Get”, “Redondo Beach”, and “It’s Hard To Walk Tall When You’re Small” from Janice Long.  Overall this is a great release for Morrissey fans with two excellent sounding and interesting shows.  The artwork is tastefully decorated with several dramatic live shots and overall is worth having.  (GS)

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Morrissey - How Soon Is Berlin? (The Swingin' Pig TSP-CD-5116/5117), 2.5 out of 5 based on 5 ratings

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