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The Smiths returned to North America for their biggest tour ever. This time, they played more than major East and West coast cities, and the venues were bigger, sometimes stadiums. The tour was a huge success.
Craig Gannon was Smith #5 (second guitarist).
As the stress and exhaustion were taking over the band members and causing frictions, shows scheduled in Miami, Atlanta, Nashville and New York at the end of the tour were cancelled.
The Phoenix concert may have happened on 30 August, or else it may have been planned for the latter date but postponed by one day.
Backstage passes read "God Save The Queen"!
Nothing new was introduced on this portion of the tour, but many songs in the setlist were not released in either the USA or Canada. The Smiths were pushing their North American label Sire to release the newest UK single "Panic", but the North American fans would have to wait until the end of this tour before they could get it otherwise than on import. The yet unreleased "Ask" had been introduced on the few UK dates just before this American leg. It was only played twice in Canada then dropped before the band crossed the border to the USA. It would return to the setlist on the upcoming British dates, after the song's release. However "Is It Really So Strange" was also unreleased at the time but was still performed almost every night. The instrumental song "Money Changes Everything" which had only been played once before and was also unreleased in North America, was often performed here as the first track of the encore, giving Morrissey a few extra minutes to rest.
All of "The Queen Is Dead" was played on most nights, minus "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others". "Vicar In A Tutu" and "I Know It's Over" were not played as regularly as the other titles. The former was performed for a few gigs only, then dropped in favour of the latter. "Meat Is Murder" was represented by regulars "I Want The One I Can't Have", "What She Said", "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" and "Meat Is Murder". The latter was not performed as often the others, it was reinstated into the setlist after a few dates for the American public. "Rusholme Ruffians" was played on a handful of nights, again with an intro of the first verse of Elvis Presley's "(Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame". "What She Said" was also played as a medley, sandwiched between the intro and outro of the band's own "Rubber Ring".
The rest of the regulars consisted of the live staples "Still Ill" and "Hand In Glove" as well as "How Soon Is Now", "Stretch Out And Wait" and now and then "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now". Classics like "Shakespeare's Sister", "William, It Was Really Nothing" and "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" were played here and there to round up setlists, or add variety when the band was in the same city two nights in a row. For that same reason "Reel Around The Fountain" was played once, on the second Los Angeles date. Because it had been dropped since June 1985 and would never be played again, this one-off performance was quite an oddity.
Here is the number of times each song was performed on this leg, in descending order of frequency. This is based on 22 concerts for which the setlist is known, plus 2 for which it is partially known.
Panic - 23
See here for more tour statistics.
In "Stretch Out And Wait", Morrissey sang the alternate first verse as it is heard on the "The World Won't Listen" compilation, instead of the single version. He also sang the slightly different "Ignore all the silly codes of the day". In "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out", he didn't sing the repeated title chorus at the end, unlike the way he does on the "The Queen Is Dead" album. In "Shakespeare's Sister", he repeated "Throw your skinny body down!" where he usually sang "Throw your white body down!"
In "Vicar In A Tutu" Morrissey always sang "A scanty bit of a thing with a decorative ring that wouldn't cover the head of a child" as is printed in the lyric sheet of "The Queen Is Dead". In the studio version on the album he sang "... wouldn't cover the head of a goose". In "What She Said", he usually changed a line to "How come somebody hasn't noticed that I'm dead". As on earlier tours, he sang "who cares if animals die" at the very end of "Meat Is Murder". In "Hand In Glove" the second occurrence of "the sun shines out of our behinds" was always replaced with a repeat of "the Good People laugh". Finally in "Still Ill", Morrissey made the now common change to "If I were you I really wouldn't bother".
Near the end of performances of "I Know It's Over", Morrissey often curled into fetal position on the floor with his shirt pulled over his head. While singing the title line in "The Queen Is Dead", he usually pulled out a sign with THE QUEEN IS DEAD is big white letters over black, and waved it around until the end of the song. "Meat Is Murder" was often preceded by an anti-meat comment.
Quite a few other shows are available to collectors. None really stand out from others however. The most common is the 5 August 1986 gig in Mansfield, near Boston. Fans will want 31 July 1986 in Toronto (Canada) for an early performance of "Ask", the almost retired "Shakespeare's Sister" and "William, It Was Really Nothing", and the rarer "Vicar In A Tutu", "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" and "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want". "Vicar In A Tutu", "Shakespeare's Sister" and "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" were also played on 8 August 1986 in Washington. Ottawa was also treated to "Vicar In A Tutu" and "Shakespeare's Sister" while the latter number returned into the set for one night only in San Francisco.
Besides Irvine and London mentioned above, "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" was also played at the second Los Angeles show on 26 August 1986. The latter gig is also very interesting for the one-off (for 1986) performance of "Reel Around The Fountain". The 8 September 1986 concert in New Orleans and the first LA date on 25 August 1986 are the only ones of this section where "Rusholme Ruffians" was played. The latter is actually one of the best gigs of this tour, crowd-wise. Finally completists will want to search for the following other dates in circulation: 6 August 1986 in New York (many versions available), 12 August 1986 in Pittsburgh, 14 August 1986 in Detroit, 15 August 1986 in Chicago, 16 August in Milwaukee, 22 August in Santa Barbara and 29 August in San Diego.