Bill Morrissey at The Berkeley Cafe,
Raleigh, September 19, 1997

Date:          Tue, 23 Sep 1997 10:27:24 -0400
From:          Mike Woodard <>
Subject:       Morrissey's 9/19 show in Raleigh

Hello Morrissey fans:

I'm taking the opportunity to send along a quick review of Friday's show in Raleigh.

The show was at the Berkeley Cafe in downtown Raleigh, which features a good mix of blues and folk players. If you're ever in the Triangle area, it's worth checking with them to find out who they have playing that night.

Even tough I've been a big Morrissey fan since '89 (after featuring Standing Eight on a radio show I hosted at the time), this was my first concert. I was really blown away. His incredible voice was even more expressive live, and the lyrics resonated even more than they do on disc.

The crowd that night was a mix of die-hard Morrissey fans (probably 50), some curious people who hung around for his set (another 25), friends of the second act on the bill, and some foosball players (more on them later).

A woman named Mary Prankster opened, and delivered a 45-minute set of tongue-in-cheek female angst. Typical line: "The world is full of bastards, and I've dated nearly all." Morrissey was sitting at the next table, and chuckled a few times at the funnier lines.

The second act played only four numbers (mercifully!) of a bland blues/folk mix. Fortunately, the singer's vocals were buried in the mix, so it was easy to tune them out for their twenty five-minute set.

Morrissey hit the stage about 11:15, and we all pulled our chairs onto the dance floor. Unfortunately, the awful mix from the second act carried over into Bill's first two songs, so we lost the vocals. But the techie corrected the mix in time for the third song, and the sound was good the rest of the evening.

...except for the foosball players. There is a foosball table in once corner of the room, and four guys were playing a loud game during the first few songs. Bill made a few comments about them, but they didn't notice. Finally, he broke into a song whose lyrics he improvised on the spot (tune similar to "Car and Driver"): "They took half my brain/I wish they'd taken it all/Then I could really enjoy/This game of foosball." I can't remember any more, but the audience was howling. Finally, the players realized they were the subject of our good-natured ribbing and ended their game. As they walked out, Bill thrust his fist in the air and shout, "The power of music!"

A good portion of the set was devoted to tunes from "You'll Never Get To Heaven": a stunning performance of "Winter Laundry"; a slightly jaunty version of "Different Currency"; and the set-closing "As Long As The Sun," delivered in a just-above-whisper voice.

As in Atlanta, Bill covered Dylan's "Girl From The North Country" and made the comment about Dylan playing for the Pope.

About four or five songs into the set, he asked for requests and kept honoring them all night: "Off-White Dress," "Handsome Molly." He even joked about playing "Party at the U.N.," which he claimed he rarely plays.

Midway through the set, Bill stopped playing and read the first few pages of "Edson," which were well received by the audience. I got the sense few of them had read the book.

As in Atlanta, he made himself available to sell/autograph books, and a line of twenty + formed. I had to run out to my car to get my copies of "Edson" and "You'll Never Get To Heaven," so I ended up at the back of the line--which was fine, because me and another guy got to talk with Bill awhile. He was very gracious with his time and was even nicer than I imagined.

As I walked out, I noticed a lone [car] with Massachusetts plates sitting in front of the club. Deducing that the car was Bill's, I left a thank you note on the windshield.

In short, a great performance from one of our very best songwriters.

Mike Woodard