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After extensively touring "Meat Is Murder" across the UK and before leaving for their first tour of North America the Smiths traveled to Italy and Spain for three dates. These would turn out to be the band's final visit to mainland Europe.

It appears that a concert was scheduled in San Sebastian, Spain for 19 May. It was very likely cancelled because no evidence of it happening has made it to us. All that remains are tickets.


No support band in Italy. In Madrid (and perhaps Barcelona), The Furnish Time warmed up the audience for the Smiths.


It is unclear if the two tour programmes sold on the recent British dates were also sold on these European dates (view 1, view 2).


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


The Italian and Spanish crowds were all treated to 18 songs. There was no surprise in the setlists. Just like in the UK before this, all of newest album "Meat Is Murder" was played every night, except for "Well I Wonder". Newest non-album single "Shakespeare's Sister" was also played every night, but its b-side "Stretch Out And Wait" was only performed in Italy.

Earlier regulars in the set were "How Soon Is Now?", "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" and standard set opener "William, It Was Really Nothing" from 1984 as well as older songs "Still Ill", "Miserable Lie", "Handsome Devil", "Hand In Glove", "This Charming Man" and "You've Got Everything Now". The latter two titles were actually part-timers on the recent British dates, but they were regulars in Europe. Because they was not as popular in Italy and Spain as they were in the UK, the Smiths probably wanted to include more better known songs in their setlists so they neglected a b-side such as "Stretch Out And Wait" in favour of "This Charming Man" for example.

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

Hand In Glove - 3
Handsome Devil - 3
Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now - 3
How Soon Is Now? - 3
I Want The One I Can't Have - 3
Meat Is Murder - 3
Miserable Lie - 3
Nowhere Fast - 3
Rusholme Ruffians - 3
Shakespeare's Sister - 3
Still Ill - 3
That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore - 3
The Headmaster Ritual - 3
This Charming Man - 3
What She Said - 3
William, It Was Really Nothing - 3
You've Got Everything Now - 3
Barbarism Begins At Home - 2
Stretch Out And Wait - 1

See here for more tour statistics.


The Smiths were not only more conservative with the setlist content, Morrissey also made fewer lyric changes. He made none of the previously heard changes in "Handsome Devil" or "This Charming Man". In "Still Ill" he still sang once "If I were you I really wouldn't bother" and did none of the other occasional changes. In "You've Got Everything Now" he sang "I know you can smile, but can you throw back your head and laugh?" but none of the many other playful changes, except replacing the title line with "You've got nothing now" in Rome.

"William, It Was Really Nothing" was the standard set opener. In "Meat Is Murder" Morrissey sang with a passion that probably made a few fans become vegetarian. Live performances of this song were so much more powerful than the album version that a live version of "Meat Is Murder" was considered shortly after this tour as a possible lead track to a live EP. At the end of that song, Morrissey used a change of words that he would use often hereafter: "who cares if animals die" instead of "who hears when animals cry". In "Hand In Glove", instead of singing "but we have something they'll never have", he usually sang "we have something they never had". The second occurrence of "the sun shines out of our behinds" was replaced with a repeat of "the Good People laugh".

Perhaps the most interesting thing - retrospectively - is that in his mumblings near the end of "Barbarism Begins At Home", Morrissey sang "...a crack on the head because of all the silly little things that you said, and you said the queen is dead..." 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.

Johnny still adapted 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 as a stand-alone 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 follow an intro of the Elvis song "(Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame".


Nothing from these three dates has been given an official release.


Thanks to Spanish television programme Edad De Oro, there is a great visual souvenir of the "Meat Is Murder" tour. The full Madrid concert was recorded by them and broadcast more than once. Recordings of varying quality are available on bootleg VHS and DVDs. Click on link for full details on best sources.

A good deal of footage from the Barcelona show was found in an one-hour Spanish television special titled "Arsenal", until 2008 when the complete recording from which that footage was taken finally made it into the collecting circles. This video recording of the complete Barcelona concert is still slightly less interesting than that of the Madrid show because unlike the latter, it hasn't been rebroadcast in digital. The only commonly circulated source out there at this point in time is a transfer from a VHS copy a few generations down from the master. Still, because there are only a handful of video souvenirs of the Smiths on stage at this point in time, this is still very much sought after by fans and collectors.


The audio rip of the Madrid concert television broadcast is the best audio option for this era. This is best found on the "Unruly Boys" bootleg. The very common "Live In Madrid" bootleg is a bit too fast and doesn't sound as crisp as "Unruly Boys".

Completists in search of more will want to get their hands on the audio from the professionally filmed Barcelona concert, and then audience recordings of both Rome and Barcelona. The latter recording is usually untitled while the former is sometimes seen under the title "Live In Rome 85".

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