31 January 1986
City Hall, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
Shakespeare's Sister
I Want The One I Can't Have
The Boy With The Thorn In His Side
Bigmouth Strikes Again
This show came after two earlier ones in Manchester and Birmingham where Johnny and Andy had joined Billy Bragg on stage for a few songs. On 25 January in Manchester, they did three songs: "A Lover Sings" (featuring an added guitar line from the Smiths' This Charming Man), a cover of "The Last Time", as well as the Smiths' "Back To The Old House". Having enjoyed themselves so much, and wanting to show the other bands on the bill how great the Smiths were, Johnny and Andy persuaded the other two to travel up to Newcastle to appear on the next Red Wedge date.

In "Shakespeare's Sister" Morrissey repeated "Throw your skinny body down!" when he was expected to sing "Throw your white body down!". This slight change would become standard on the "The Queen Is Dead" tour later in the year, but for some reason Morrissey reverted to the original lyrics for the February dates following this one. Morrissey typically announced "Bigmouth Strikes Again" as "... our new single" even though the song would not be released for another 4 months. Strangely a few days later in Dublin Morrissey announced "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" as the new single. So meanwhile plans had changed, but they were to change again, as "Bigmough Strikes Again" was the next song released and not "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out".

When interviewed about this appearance Johnny Marr said "The Red Wedge gig at Newcastle City Hall was one of the best things we ever did. Andy and I had done a couple of gigs already with Billy Bragg in Manchester and Birmingham the week before. It was fun hanging out with Billy and we enjoyed playing with him, but the atmosphere around the other bands on that tour was really shitty. They treated me and Andy pretty scrappily. Anyway, I was telling Morrissey about it and he was fairly up for just doing an impromptu show. So we drove up to Newcastle, without telling anyone. I walked into the sound-check, having already been a bit of a feature the week before, but this time with the gang. The other bands were a little bit perplexed as to what we were doing there. We had no instruments, so we borrowed The Style Council's equipment and just tore the roof off the place. In the middle of the set we just walked on to this announcement and the place went bananas. I was so proud of the band. It was like my mates showed up and shut everybody up. I always felt very proud of us when there were other bands knocking about because I felt that we were the best. And that was one of the best things we ever did."

In an June 1986 interview to the NME, Morrissey said "Without wishing to sound pugnaciously ponsified I wasn't terribly impassioned by the gesture. I thought the overall presentaion was pretty middle-aged. And I can't really see anything especially useful in Neil Kinnock. I don't feel any alliance with him but if one must vote this is where I feel the black X should go. So that was why we made a very brief, but stormy appearance. When we took to the stage the audience reeled back in horror. They took their walkmans off and threw down their cardigans. Suddenly the place was alight, aflame with passion!"


An uncredited audience recording of this set is commonly found on physical and digital bootlegs, paired with the Soundsville Steve recording of the three Johnny and Andy collaborations with Billy Bragg from Manchester a week before. The quality of the Newcastle recording is no more than fair, partly because the bootlegs in circulation were produced from a second generation tape copy.


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