25 January 1983
Manhattan Sound, Manchester
Handsome Devil
The Hand That Rocks The Cradle
What Difference Does It Make?
These Things Take Time
What Do You See In Him?
I Want A Boy For My Birthday
Simon Goddard writes: "The exact order is unknown but James Maker has verified the above six songs were definitely played that night. Feasibly, the only others could have been "Suffer little Children", "Miserable Lie" and "Jeane", all of which Maker says weren't played. "A Matter Of Opinion" was around then but they never played it and "Hand In Glove" wasn't written/ready in time. Judging from the rehearsal tapes Joyce retained there were no others they were practicing in December 1982/January 1983."

This was the first concert with the Smiths' classic line up of Morrissey, Johnny, Mike and Andy. It was also the Smiths' first concert with a (reasonably) full set. The Manhattan Sound was a gay club that was used at the time on Tuesday nights to promote new bands. Cover charge was 1 and the bill was shared with a band called Foreign Press. There was no stage, the band performed on the dance floor. Morrissey friend James Maker danced with the band for a second and final time.

The concert was a success. A&R men from Factory and London labels were present and took notice. At some point Morrissey threw confetti around him and the band.

Here is a transcription of a review written by Cath Carroll (uncredited) and published in City Fun fanzine a few months later: "Manhattan Sound is marketed as another swinging nook on the gay scene: but there are gay clubs and gay clubs. This particular discobar is more of a club camp, where Crimson pile meets Coronation Street. The rooms were awash with the bustle and prattle of antique clothes dealers and in the background, the distant strumming of string vests. A right regular joint, Mother. One of the promoters, an excitable frothabilly, explained the programme: - a double bill every other Tuesday with added videos. Indeed in one vault, a Divine celebration was in progress, many minutes of wobbling footage, soundtrack included. On the stage/dancefloor, we were presented with the SMITHS.
A standard line-up of Dean-struck laddies continued the traditions of the New York Dolls and Auntie Iggy with lurid vigour. On Mouth we had the pleasure of a congenital show-off with a dreamily affected baritone. An arresting figure whose appearance lay somewhere between Christopher Isherwood and a Foreign Office junior. He made several declarations in his velvety growl, 'Oh, You (Handsome Devil)', 'What Do You See In Her?' and best of all, 'The Hand That Rocks The Cradle'. Throughout the act we were treated to the activities of a Spare Part, a debonair male go-go dancer in a suit, collar and tie who shook a tambourine and organised the raffle. Either he should be bought an instrument or returned to the Locker Room immediately. For the final piece, the singer abandoned the John Gielgud mannerisms and fell stageward, flinging (oh, irony!) confetti and gurgling in a fine falsetto.
If the boy's head is anything to go by, The Smiths are going to be B-I-G."

A detailed eyewitness account of the first three Smiths gigs, published in the June 2004 issue of Mojo, can be read from scans at Morrissey Scans.

 


There are no recording of this concert in circulation at this point in time.

 

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