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The Smiths naturally kicked off the Meat Is Murder tour in the UK. It was a huge success, parallel to that of the newest album which went to #1 in the British charts. Most dates were quickly sold out.

A concert scheduled for March 10 in Southend was cancelled at the last minute because the venue was deemed unsafe.




-The main tour programme featured Viv Nicholson on the cover (view). An alternate programme was produced with the artwork of the "Meat Is Murder" album and "Tour 85" on the front (view). It is unclear whether these were sold at the same time or if one eventually replaced the other.
-A white t-shirt featuring the artwork from the "Meat Is Murder" album.
-A black polo t-shirt (view).
-A "Hand In Glove" t-shirt was allegedly sold in Bradford.
-There may have been more shirts for sale, but no other has ever been reported.
-A small bag of 10 button badges each featuring a detail from the artwork of different Smiths albums and singles was also sold on some or all these dates (view).


It is not known whether or not there was an intro tape at this point, but the Smiths came on stage at the end of Prokofiev's "Romeo And Juliet". In some cities (if not all) flashing lights installed over the amplifiers were turned on while that intro was played at a deafening volume. The whole set-up really built up anticipation for the Smiths' entry on stage.


The average setlist length for the British dates of the "Meat Is Murder" tour was of 17 songs. Some lucky cities were treated to 18 songs, while others got 16.

More than half of the "Meat Is Murder" album had already been introduced to audiences on live dates in late 1984, but three more songs from it were introduced and performed regularly throughout the Meat Is Murder tour: the title track, "The Headmaster Ritual" and "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore". So all songs from the newest album minus "Well I Wonder" were staples on this tour.

"Shakespeare's Sister", which was released as a single in the UK halfway into this leg of the tour, was also played every night. Its b-side "Stretch Out And Wait" was performed on the first three dates then dropped for a week and a half. It then returned as a regular for the remainder of the British dates.

Other regulars in the set were "How Soon Is Now?" and standard set opener "William, It Was Really Nothing" from 1984 as well as older songs "Still Ill", "Miserable Lie", "Handsome Devil" and "Hand In Glove". "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" started off as a regular, slotted midset, but was dropped halfway into the tour. It returned after a week's break and was then slotted as an encore until the end.

"Reel Around The Fountain" was included in the set during the short period when "Stretch Out And Wait" wasn't. "You've Got Everything Now" was played during the short time when "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" was dropped and also served as an encore filler on a few dates. "This Charming Man" and "These Things Take Time" were performed once each, they also served as encores.

Here is the number of times each song was performed on this leg, in descending order of frequency.

Hand In Glove - 23
How Soon Is Now? - 23
I Want The One I Can't Have - 23
Meat Is Murder - 23
Miserable Lie - 23
Nowhere Fast - 23
Rusholme Ruffians - 23
Shakespeare's Sister - 23
Still Ill - 23
That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore - 23
The Headmaster Ritual - 23
What She Said - 23
William, It Was Really Nothing - 23
Handsome Devil - 20
Barbarism Begins At Home - 19
Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now - 18
Stretch Out And Wait - 18
You've Got Everything Now - 8
Reel Around The Fountain - 6
This Charming Man - 1
These Things Take Time - 1

See here for more tour statistics.


Bar a few dates "William, It Was Really Nothing" was the standard set opener on this first leg of the Meat Is Murder tour. For the first few dates it was extended with a longer intro. Similarly to the 1984 tour's set opener "Hand In Glove", Johnny, Mike and Andy started the song as an instrumental while Morrissey entered the stage. However, unlike "Hand In Glove" this didn't last for long and the Smiths quickly returned to the song's original form even if it remained positioned at the beginning of the set.

In "Meat Is Murder" Morrissey sang with a passion that probably made a few fans turn vegetarian. The live version was so much more powerful than the album version that it was considered shortly after this tour as a possible lead track to a live EP. At the end of the song Morrissey sang "who cares if animals die" instead of "who hears when animals cry", a change that would be heard often over this song's live life, even in Morrissey's solo years.

Morrissey took liberties with the lyrics of some of his older songs. The best example is "You've Got Everything Now" in which he often sang the usual live changes "You've got nothing now", "No I never had a job because I've never even had an interview" or "I've never had a job because I'm too sensible". He also introduced "I know you can smile, but can you throw back your head and laugh?".

Johnny also started adapting some of the older songs musically. This was notable in "Miserable Lie", "Handsome Devil", which was given a rockabilly-ish edge or "This Charming Man", which lost the breaks in its rhythm. "Rusholme Ruffians" was performed by itself on this tour. In late 1984 it had been played in a medley with "This Charming Man" and from later in 1985 to the end of the Smiths' live career it would be segued from an intro of the Elvis song "(Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame".

Johnny wasn't the only one to make changes in "Miserable Lie". For a few weeks during the period covered here Morrissey echoed the endings of certain lines such as "you have corrupt my innocent mind, innocent mind", "what do we get for our trouble and pain, trouble and pain?" or "how much I love your casual way, casual way". He also often changed a line to "I'd really like to see your underwear" and sometimes another one to "and life is just a miserable lie".

"Shakespeare's Sister" was released as a single halfway into this leg of the tour so Morrissey often introduced it as the band's newest release before going into it. He took the opportunity at the same time to comment on the song's lack of airplay and/or success in the charts. He also needed to introduce that single's b-side, "Stretch Out And Wait", which was just as unfamiliar to most of the audience. The latter song was done exactly like the released single version. Later in the year Morrissey would start playing around with its lyrics.

Echo was used in "Barbarism Begins At Home" to beef up Morrissey's grunts. Perhaps the most interesting thing retrospectively is that in his mumblings near the end of that song Morrissey sang "...a crack on the head because of all the silly little things that you said, and you said the queen is dead..." Those last words were mumbled on certain nights, but were clearly sung on others. The song "The Queen Is Dead" was to be written before the end of the year, so perhaps Morrissey was already putting together its lyrics. It's also possible that those words were somehow autobiographical and singing them gave him the idea to write a song around them.

As he had started to do in "Reel Around The Fountain" at the end of 1984 Morrissey added a funny "buddum buddum" at the end of the line "You can pin and mount me like a butterfly". In "Handsome Devil" he often changed a line to "I know what teeth are for, and I'd like to help myself". Besides making the usual change "If I were you I really wouldn't bother" in "Still Ill" Morrissey also sometimes sang "There are brighter sides to life and I should know because I've seen them... once!" and "Under the iron bridge we kissed and although I ended up with two lips". Instead of singing "but we have something they'll never have" in "Hand In Glove" he usually sang "we have something they never had". The second occurrence of "the sun shines out of our behinds" in the latter number was replaced with a repeat of "the Good People laugh" line.


The Oxford concert was recorded by the BBC and this was first broadcast two months later on Janice Long's show and is still broadcast now and then around the world. Live versions of "Nowhere Fast", "Stretch Out And Wait", "Shakespeare's Sister" and "Meat Is Murder" from this BBC recording were made available on the "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" single and the Holland-only "The Headmaster Ritual" single. These same songs minus "Shakespeare's Sister" were later re-released on the "The Headmaster Ritual" cd-single. "Miserable Lie" is also available on the Canadian and Dutch Rough Trade Records various artists compilation LP simply titled "Compilation". "What She Said" was featured on a covermount 7" titled "Poll Winners" which was given away for free with the purchase of a 1985 issue of the NME. Finally, "Meat Is Murder" was included on the UK edition of the various artists "Animal Liberation" LP. This version includes about 20 extra seconds of audience noise than the b-side version mentioned above.


Nothing from these dates is available on video bootlegs.


The best audio souvenir from this tour and one of the most popular bootlegs for the Smiths would undoubtedly have to be "Same Day Again" featuring a BBC radio broadcast of the Oxford concert. Having been produced from a radio broadcast the quality is obviously excellent. The bootleg features the full set bar three songs: "I Want The One I Can't Have", "Rusholme Ruffians" and "Handsome Devil". It must also be said that "You've Got Everything Now" was lifted from the recording of a different date. The bootleg was later reissued under the titles "Live In Europe" and "Radio One In Concert 9.5.85". A 'readjusted' version of "Same Day Again" was put together by a fan in 2006. Using a digital rebroadcast he reintroduced some of the missing banter, the missing minute from "How Soon Is Now?", applied a minor correction to the pitch and increased the volume, but kept "You've Got Everything Now" from a different date. The sound quality slightly suffered in the process but is still very good and the result is still an interesting alternative.

Another great bootleg was produced from the 16 March concert in Hanley, so just two days before Oxford. The recording is fanmade, but the sound is still surprisingly good for an audience one. The set is very similar to Oxford (plus "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now", minus "You've Got Everything Now"), the band gave a great show and the enthusiastic crowd engaged in some singalongs to their favourite songs.

Many other shows from this period are in circulation, but none of them offer anything interesting not available on "Same Day Again". Soundwise the next best options would be the radio broadcast of Manchester and an excellent nine-song audience recording of Northampton. Content-wise the only other interesting options are the latter Northampton subset for the only performance of "This Charming Man" on this leg and one of the two audience recordings of the London Brixton Academy show which features the short-lived "William, It Was Really Nothing" with extended intro and the only live performance of "These Things Take Time" in 1985 (which also happens to be the final performance of that song).

For completist collectors here is a rundown of the other shows in circulation, in complete or incomplete form, and in varying levels of sound quality: Chippenham, Guildford, Reading, Poole, Brighton, Margate, Ipswich, Nottingham, Birmingham, Oxford (audience recording, not the radio broadcast mentioned above), Sheffield, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Liverpool (full or incomplete set), Bradford, Bristol and London-Royal Albert Hall.

All of the above is also found in digital format on the internet.