19 July 1986|
G-Mex Festival, Manchester
Bigmouth Strikes AgainThe Smiths appeared at the "Festival Of The 10th Summer" which was put together to celebrate 10 years of punk. They co-headlined with New Order while other bands on the bill included A Certain Ratio, The Fall, The Virgin Prunes, Pete Shelley, Adultery, The Worst and Wayne Fontana. The concert was very positively reviewed by the media in the days that followed. The set was the same as in Newcastle two days earlier, minus "Never Had No One Ever".
As the band came on stage Morrissey greeted the crowd with a simple "Hello". He teased the audience following "Vicar In A Tutu" by saying "I hope the pressure of having to actually stand on your own two feet isn't too painful", something that might not have endeared him to the people who were not there to see the Smiths. Before "Ask", which had not been released at this point, he announced "Thank you, you're very kind... this is a new song, 'Ask'." After the latter number Johnny teasingly picked a few notes from what sounded like "(Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame". In "Is It Really So Strange?" Morrissey replaced the words "you can break my spine" with "you can break my face".
"Shakespeare's Sister" was introduced with the line "This is a song about a boiled egg..." In "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" Morrissey sang "Why do you kick them when they fall down" instead of "Why must you..." The latter song was also updated with a new extended outro. As he sang the title line in "The Queen Is Dead" Morrissey pulled out a board saying THE QUEEN IS DEAD in white over black and waved it in the air until the end of the song. In "I Know It's Over" he sang the slightly different "the knife wants to cut me". Before the final song, "Hand In Glove", he just said "Thank you, you've been very kind..."
The set was recorded by Piccadilly Radio. The recording was first broadcast on FA Cup Final day in 1987, and repeated over the years. The broadcast featured the complete concert minus "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side", "Is It Really So Strange?" and "Rusholme Ruffians" which were very likely dropped to make the rest fit within one hour. The outro to "The Queen Is Dead" was also cut before the end, although very little is missing.
Tickets were £13.
Fans interested in the full concert in better quality will prefer one or both of the two good audience recordings brought to us by Soundsville International's Paul and DJ. If one must choose only one out of those two, the DJ recording sounds slightly better, although in its first half it is marred by a few annoying hecklers close to the recorder.
The "Royal Command Performance" double-LP bootleg was produced from a high generation tape copy of the Soundsville recording and sounds rather poorly. It lacks "Panic", "Cemetry Gates", "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side", "The Queen Is Dead" and "Hand In Glove" which makes it even less interesting. "Frankly Mr Shankly" is not listed on the sleeve but it is tagged at the end of "Vicar In A Tutu". This abbreviated set is paired with a portion of the Smiths' final concert on 12 December 1986 at Brixton Academy, which can also be found in better quality and quantity elsewhere. The LP set has since been transfered to fanmade CD-Rs, which in turn were transfered to digital format. A manufactured cd version of "Royal Command Performance" features even fewer tracks. Besides the missing ones listed above, it also lacks "Stretch Out And Wait", "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" and "I Know It's Over".
The radio and audience recordings of all sources/formats mentioned above are available on the internet in various digital formats. Unfortunately, the best options - the full audience recordings - are at this point in time the scarcest ones in circulation.
Do you have information about this concert? Or do you own an uncirculated recording of it? If yes please contribute and get credited.