21 May 1983
Camden Electric Ballroom, London
You've Got Everything Now
Accept Yourself
What Difference Does It Make?
Reel Around The Fountain
These Things Take Time
I Don't Owe You Anything
Hand In Glove
The Hand That Rocks The Cradle
Handsome Devil
Miserable Lie
This was the Smiths' first major support slot with fellow Mancunians The Fall as headliners. The beginning of the concert was a bit shaky, with a few mistakes in "Accept Yourself" and a terrible version of "Reel Around The Fountain", but they managed to get everything right in the second half of the concert, which was very well received by the audience.

Entering stage, Morrissey asked the audience "Are you ready?" before going into "You've Got Everything Now". For some reason, after the song he is heard saying "Good grief!". "Accept Yourself", which was very likely being performed for the first time ever, contained quite a few lyrical differences to the versions that were later released. After "...time is against me now", Morrissey repeated the line in falsetto and yelped a few times, creating a strange but interesting effect. Also, plans in this early version, like dreams, "have a knack of not coming true" instead of falling through "... as so often they do". One difference with the familiar lyrics was probably a mistake by Morrissey, as he sang "...so how do I feel about the past / they make me awkward and plain...". The latter line, relating to his shoes, was obviously meant to be sung later. This probably led the uncomfortable Morrissey to make a similar mistake further down, singing "when will you accept (mumble) say" instead of "everyday you must say". Of course everyone in the audience was oblivious to this as nobody knew the song... the band was probably struggling with a newly written track they were not yet accustomed to.

The Smiths were just back from London where they had recorded their first session for John Peel , so it's no surprise that the version of "What Difference Does It Make?" performed at the Electric Ballroom was very similar to the Peel session which is found on the "Hatful Of Hollow" compilation. It contained lines such as "I can surely rely on you" and "I'm so very tired" that were changed by the time the song was recorded as a single and made it on the debut album. The most striking difference in the early version of "Reel Around The Fountain" which was performed next is the drum roll heard occasionally as Morrissey sings "I wouldn't say no". Morrissey suffered serious voice and tune problems in the first verses, but caught up before the end.

At this point in time Morrissey wasn't very talkative on stage... he would shyly say "thank you" and announce songs by simply saying their titles. The next track however was announced as "Four sad words... 'These Things Take Time'". It was performed with the drum roll intro as heard on the aborted Troy Tate outtakes. More interestingly, it included significantly different lines in the first verse: "you took me behind a dis-used railway line "you took me to (undecipherable) / and (undecipherable) / I'm saved, I'm saved, you took my hand".

As the show progressed and the audience reception got warmer, Morrissey became more comfortable so the next song was introduced with "Somebody streak... 'I Don't Owe You Anything'". The song was probably seeing its live debut. Morrissey then became even more talkative, introducing the next song with "This is our record which you might as well buy... it's just been released by Rough Trade... 'Hand In Glove'... 'Hand In Glove'!... thank you... 'Hand In Glove'!!". After the performance he matter of factly said "So there!" and announced the next track.

"The Hand That Rocks The Cradle", which was performed for the last time ever, had already evolved from the version performed a few months earlier, but still contained differences to the one that would be released on the debut album. These differences of both musical and lyrical nature were found near the end of the song, from the "Climb upon my knee sonny boy" line to the end. Morrissey then announced "Handsome Devil" as "Miserable Lie". After the song, he corrected himself by saying "Oh look, I made a mistake, that wasn't 'Miserable Lie', that was 'Handsome Devil'. This is 'Miserable Lie'... as if you care...". By the end of it the audience had really warmed up to this support band and the Smiths were cheered profusely as they made it off stage.

Tickets were 3.00

 


A good recording of the complete concert is traded amongst collectors, on homemade cd-r's and on the internet, occasionaly with artwork under the title "Swept Mystical Air". Fans should be aware that a slightly inferior sounding higher generation transfer to tape from digital is also limitedly circulated on the internet.

 

Do you have information about this concert? Or do you own an uncirculated recording of it? If yes please contribute and get credited.