6 April 1985
Royal Albert Hall, London
How Soon Is Now?
Nowhere Fast
I Want The One I Can't Have
What She Said
Hand In Glove
Stretch Out And Wait
That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore
Shakespeare's Sister
Rusholme Ruffians
The Headmaster Ritual
You've Got Everything Now
Handsome Devil
Still Ill
Meat Is Murder
/William, It Was Really Nothing
/Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
//Barbarism Begins At Home (featuring Pete Burns)
//Miserable Lie
The Smiths ended the UK portion of the "Meat Is Murder" tour in the capital. For the occasion the setlist was resequenced and stretched to 18 songs with the addition of the rarely played "You've Got Everything Now". Dead Or Alive singer Pete Burns, who had more or less been following the band around as a friend of Morrissey's during this tour, joined them on stage for "Barbarism Begins At Home" (read further).

Reviews for this concert were sometimes positive, sometimes negative, but it is unclear if the Smiths were really not up to par or if the classy venue made for a stiffer and more sedate concert than what the fans were used to. Morrissey kept walking off stage during the set and did so for good halfway into the last song, leaving the band confused.

There was a lot of pressure up front so before "Stretch Out And Wait" someone from the venue had to ask the audience to move back. After this Morrissey added "Please do as the man says, he knows his job." Latest single "Shakespeare's Sister" was introduced with the line "I suppose if we all live long enough we might hear this on the radio... 'Shakespeare's Sister'." Before "Handsome Devil" Morrissey apologised for the barrier holding the fans back: "Sorry about that, come over the barrier... people are gonna die apparently if we don't do that..." The vegetarian anthem "Meat Is Murder" was introduced with the dedication "This is for everybody who stopped at the hamburger stand outside... we're watching you..." Halfway into the song Morrissey held his tambourine over Johnny's head like a halo. The audience's reception must not have been to Morrissey's satisfaction because before going into the first encore "William, It Was Really Nothing" he said "We probably picked the wrong venue... never mind..."

When the band took the stage for the second encore the crowd was surprised to see two additional people come on. They were Pete Burns and another member of Dead Or Alive. Morrissey said "Thank you you're doing very well..." and the Smiths launched into "Barbarism Begins At Home". Burns sang the song with Morrissey while his bandmate played conga drums. Morrissey stuck to the usual lyrics while Burns made a few changes, such as "unruly girls who will not go to bed must be taken in hand".

As this was the final date of the UK tour, Morrissey's final words before set closer "Miserable Lie" were "Thanks for all your support, it meant a great deal to us, thank you..." Halfway into the fast part of that song, he started being distracted and suddenly left stage, leaving the other members of the Smiths to improvise a rushed ending.

Tickets were 6 on the floor and 5 in the balcony.

Thanks to Jem Aswad for providing some of this information.

 


A good but slightly tinny recording of the complete concert is available from bootleg traders and in digital format on the internet (recorder: Soundsville's Paul). Inferior tape copies of this recording were used to produce two 'titled' bootlegs, "Royal Albert Hall 6 April 1985" and "Say Cheese" which are more widespread than the original source, particularly on the internet. Because they were produced from a higher generation copy, they are also unfortunately of inferior quality. Collectors should therefore make sure they get the better sounding master recording.

A bad quality recording of the duet performance of "Barbarism Begins At Home" with Pete Burns can be found on the "A Nice Bit Of Meat" mixed content bootleg available on CD and LP. The source seems to be the recording mentioned above. This has made it on the internet as well.

 

Do you have information about this concert? Or do you own an uncirculated recording of it? If yes please contribute and get credited.