20 July 1986|
University Of Salford, Salford
PanicThis hometown concert was listed by Q Magazine in the early 2000s as one of the 100 best concerts ever. The band was in excellent form and the audience very enthusiastic and energetic. The cheers and chants (not of the band's name, but of 'Salford! Salford!') between every song were deafening. As soon as "Panic" started, everyone in the crowd started jumping up and down and the floor bounced in time. At some point the stage actually collapsed and the show had to be stopped for a few minutes. When it started again the front rows were almost on the stage, and Johnny and Andy eventually had to retreat to the drum riser. This made stage invading a little easier, and by the end the place was almost flooded with fans.
The setlist was scrambled and started to look like the typical set of the "The Queen Is Dead" tour. "Stretch Out And Wait" was ditched and replaced with a returning "What She Said" now bookended by the intro and outro from "Rubber Ring". The Smiths also introduced the instrumental "Money Changes Everything" as the first encore, giving Morrissey a chance to rest a little longer than the others before returning to the stage.
Since its live inception, newest single "Panic" had been played with a drum intro absent from the studio version. However now that the song was moved to the position of set opener, the intro was extended even more than before. Referring to the previous night's concert, Morrissey followed "Shakespeare's Sister" with the words "Thank you, who needs G-Mex?... nobody..." The yet to be released "Ask" was introduced with "This is a new song... which nobody's heard... it's called... 'Ask'!" Pleased and surprised of the crowd's reaction, Morrissey said "Thank you... we're enjoying you immensely..." after "I Want The One I Can't Have". Instead of singing the last few lines of "Cemetry Gates", he turned around, wiped his face and had a drink of water. The explanation came right after: "A little message, just a little message: if the person next to you spits, please kill them!" The yet-to-be-released "Is It Really So Strange?" was simply introduced with a drop of its title.
Johnny introduced his fellow guitarist Craig Gannon after "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out": "Everybody, on guitar, Craig Gannon, from Salford..." Then after a pause Morrissey said "Don't be shy!". Following "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" the singer asked "You boys sitting comfortably?". As mentioned earlier, "What She Said" was played for the first time as a medley with the intro and outro from "Rubber Ring". However this first performance featured a longer intro than subsequent ones. Before the final song of the main set, Morrissey started chanting with the crowd, but changed the words to "Stretford! Stretford!" while Mike banged the drums to the rhythm. As Morrissey removed his shirt and threw it into the audience, Mike's drum rhythm gradually became the drum intro to the following song, the fast-paced "The Queen Is Dead". As he sang the title line in the latter song, Morrissey pulled out a board with the words THE QUEEN IS DEAD on it, which he waved about for the rest of the song.
After a short break the Smiths returned to the stage without Morrissey and as a first encore did the instrumental "Money Changes Everything". Morrissey then rejoined his bandmates and chanted with the crowd "Stretford! Stretford! The night is young!" before launching into "I Know It's Over". The first stage invaders made it up during "Bigmouth Strikes Again" which, on this occasion, was extended with a longer intro. When he returned to the stage after a third break Morrissey threw into the audience the shirt he had just changed into, said "You missed the last bus? Ha ha!" and went into the "Rusholme Ruffians" medley. Over the length of the two songs of this final encore (which were done in quick succession), about 20 or 30 fans climbed on stage. Instead of throwing themselves to Morrissey's neck, they formed a wall behind which Morrissey was protected from others. However, this also meant that the singer was half hidden. Meanwhile Johnny remained in view by climbing on the drum rise.
An audience recording of the full concert is circulated on bootleg VHS and DVDs (recorder: Soundsville International's Paul). The quality is reasonable for audience footage from the 1980s. On VHS the quality depends on the copy's generation, while most DVDs were produced from one particular VHS copy of so-so quality. Some of them even lack the outro of "Never Had No One Ever". Collectors might prefer one of two different 'remastered' editions of this video. Both have the better sounding Soundsville recording mentioned above dubbed over the footage. However one uses the older and inferior high-generation footage with the "Humdrum Town" audio while the other - possibly the best bootleg DVD available at this point in time for this date - uses the footage from a 1st generation VHS copy with the original master audio from which "Humdrum Town" was produced.
Do you have information about this concert? Or do you own an uncirculated recording of it? If yes please contribute and get credited.
Johnny Marr, in a 2007 interview, when questioned about the best gig he's ever played: "Salford University in 1986 with The Smiths. The PA had to be tied down because the floor was bouncing up so high that the stage was practically falling to pieces. I've actually got that night on film somewhere. The Smiths were pretty full-on as a live band. Even the slow songs were full-on. I doubt we ever played a bad show."