15 September 1983
Venue, London
Handsome Devil
You've Got Everything Now
These Things Take Time
This Charming Man
Reel Around The Fountain
Miserable Lie
Still Ill
I Don't Owe You Anything
Hand In Glove
What Difference Does It Make?
/Accept Yourself
/Hand In Glove
/Handsome Devil
At this point in time it was clear that the Smiths' audience had suddenly noticeably grown. John Peel and Kid Jensen had broadcast sessions of the band on their shows and, despite "Hand In Glove" being the only official release available, more people were now hearing the Smiths on the radio. The stage was carpeted with flowers and more flowers were thrown into the audience.

The upcoming single "This Charming Man" as well as "Still Ill", both of which new compositions, were introduced into the band's live set on this date. However, the recently introduced "Pretty Girls Make Graves" wasn't performed. It would return to the setlist later in the month. "Wonderful Woman" was also absent. It would only be performed on stage a few more times after this concert.

The band was in a playful mood, and there was a good deal of verbal exchange with people in the crowd. After "Handsome Devil" Morrissey simply said "Hello!". In "You've Got Everything Now" he yelped here and there and displayed his good mood by changing the melody of certain lines. Before "These Things Take Time" he greeted his fans again, this time by saying "Hello you gruesome devils!". For the first time the song didn't start with the drum roll intro. It was performed more or less the way it would be released on the "What Difference Does It Make?" single a few months later. However, Andy was either experimenting or was having problems with his bass lines because they were out of tune here and there in the song.

New composition "This Charming Man" was politely received, which hints that despite having only one single out for purchase, the band already had in London a following who was able to recognize the introduction of a new song. This early version of "This Charming Man" was very jangly and rhythmic and didn't stop-start between verse and chorus. It was similar to the John Peel session that would be recorded within a week and eventually released on the "Hatful Of Hollow" compilation album.

Many songs were requested by members of the audience, particularly "Reel Around The Fountain" which was the fans' favourite at the time (it was even planned as the next single back then, but those plans would change). So when it was finally time for it Morrissey introduced it with the line "Dear friends... what? Patience... 'Reel Around The Fountain'..." The song was rapturously received and Morrissey thanked the fans with a simple "Thank you" in a high pitched voice. Following that, more songs kept being requested from the audience, which prompted him to ask at some point "What? Speak up... louder, louder...".

To someone who shouted "What Difference Does It Make!", Morrissey replied with his own shout of "Hand In Glove" in a high-pitched voice. However the song they played next was "Still Ill". The debut performance of the latter number was significantly different lyrically to the versions familiar to us now (the debut album version and the Peel session as heard on "Hatful Of Hollow"). The words "It just wasn't like the old days anymore no it wasn't like those days" were only sung once in this early version as opposed to three times in the versions we know. The final line was in fact "It just isn't like those days" instead of "No it wasn't like those days".

Following "I Don't Owe You Anything" Morrissey asked "Any... any comments? Would anybody like to say something? (various shouts from crowd) How come?". One line in "What Difference Does It Make?" was changed to "I can surely rely on you", as was tradition at the time. As soon as the latter title's first notes were heard the crowd roared in unison. The Peel session of the song had been playing on the BBC for a few months now and many fans in the audience had become very familiar with it. It was slotted as the final number of the main set, so following its performance Morrissey simply said goodbye and the band left the stage.

When everyone returned for the encore Morrissey introduced "Accept Yourself" with the words "Look, you'll have to do it eventually, so do it now, accept yourself." He was really pushing the Smiths' first single at the time so up next came a second helping of "Hand In Glove". Over the song's first few bars he told the audience "Come on, don't be shy" which prompted a mass stage invasion, something that fans were starting to expect by now. The action on stage made Morrissey miss some of his lines in the third and final encore, "Handsome Devil". Before leaving stage the man thanked the cheering crowd with shouts of "Goodbye! Stay handsome! Goodbye!".

With support bands Felt and The Go-Betweens, The Smiths formed a "Rough Trade showcase gig". Tickets were 3.00. From the NME, a review by Barney Hoskyns: "The Smiths are Rough Trade's most commercial offering yet; deserving successors to Scritti (Politti) and (Aztec) Camera."

 


A fair/poor audience recording of this concert is being traded by bootleg collectors under the title "Catch Us If You Can". This features the full set minus the first part of the first song. Collectors usually prefer a better sounding audience recording credited to recorder Josef. This one features the complete set and is sometimes seen with artwork under the title "Hello You Gruesome Devils!".

 

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