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As the "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" single was released worldwide, the Smiths traveled up North to Scotland for a 7-date mini-tour. This was a way to make up for neglecting that part of the country on the earlier British leg of the "Meat Is Murder" tour in March.

 


Easterhouse.

 


-Tour programme (view). The cover photo was the same one used earlier that year on the Dutch "The Headmaster Ritual" 12".
-A small bag of 10 button badges each featuring a detail from the artwork of different Smiths albums and singles was also sold for £1 on some or all these dates (view).
-White t-shirts with a photo of Morrissey on the front and the words "I'd like to drop my trousers to the Queen" were probably not official.

 


Supposedly included Dead Or Alive's "You Spin Me Round" and the Dream Academy's cover of the Smiths' "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want".
The overture to Prokofiev's "Romeo And Juliet" was the last song on the intro tape before the Smiths entered stage.

 


The Smiths played between 18 and 20 tracks per night on this mini-tour.

Six new tracks were debuted in Scotland. "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" was the newest single, it would be made more widely available nine months later on the "The Queen Is Dead" album alongside this leg's other live debuts "Frankly Mr Shankly" and "Bigmouth Strikes Again". "What's The World" was a cover of a James song that would never be recorded by the Smiths (other than live). It was played only on this tour and then never again. In Inverness the Smiths found a piano next to the stage and used this opportunity to perform "Asleep". Finally, the other novelty was only a half addition. The previously performed "Rusholme Ruffians" was from these dates on done in a medley with the first verse of the Elvis Presley song "(Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame".

The "Meat Is Murder" album was still the most recent long player and it was represented by regulars "I Want The One I Can't Have", "What She Said", "Nowhere Fast", "Meat Is Murder", "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" and as mentioned before, "Rusholme Ruffians". "The Headmaster Ritual" was played twice then replaced by "This Charming Man". "Barbarism Begins At Home" was dropped altogether.

Other regulars in the set were recent single tracks "Shakespeare's Sister" and "Stretch Out And Wait" as well as older numbers "Still Ill", "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now", "Hand In Glove", "William, It Was Really Nothing" and "Miserable Lie". "How Soon Is Now?" and "Jeane" were played three times and once respectively.

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

Bigmouth Strikes Again - 7
Frankly, Mr Shankly - 7
Hand In Glove - 7
Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now - 7
I Want The One I Can't Have - 7
Meat Is Murder - 7
Miserable Lie - 7
Nowhere Fast - 7
Shakespeare's Sister - 7
Stretch Out And Wait - 7
That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore - 7
The Boy With The Thorn In His Side - 7
What She Said - 7
What's The World - 7
(Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame/Rusholme Ruffians - 7
Still Ill - 6
William, It Was Really Nothing - 6
This Charming Man - 5
How Soon Is Now? - 4
The Headmaster Ritual - 2
Asleep - 1
Jeane - 1

See here for more tour statistics.

 


At this point in time Morrissey starting changing the first verse in "Stretch Out And Wait". On the first few dates, he sang the usual intro "On the high-rise estate, what's at the back of your mind? Oh the 3-way debate off the high-rise estate but what's at the back of your mind?" as heard on the "Shakespeare's Sister" single, and later, the "Louder Than Bombs" compilation. Then in Dundee he changed it to "With the lies that you say, what's at the back of your mind, oh the three day debate with the lies that you say, what's at the back of your mind". Then in Lerwick and Aberdeen he sang the alternate first verse almost as it appears on the "The World Won't Listen" compilation: "All the lies that you say, what's at the back of your mind... Ah your face I can see and it's desperately kind, but what's at the back of your mind". Whatever version was done, Morrissey always changed a line to "Ignore all the silly codes of the day", something he would be doing for the rest of this song's live existence.

At the end of the few performances of "The Headmaster Ritual", when everyone thought the song was over and started to cheer, the Smiths returned to it for a few bars before ending it again. James composition "What's The World" was always followed by the beginning of a Morrissey acknowledgement such as "That song was written by...", but in true Morrissey fashion, he never told the audience who the song was covered from. "This Charming Man" was played closer to the way it was written, without the breaks in the rhythm. "Asleep" was played by Johnny on a piano and was extended with a long instrumental outro. The one-time performance of "Jeane" included the intro riff from the Beatles' "Day Tripper", as it had been performed earlier in the year on the North American tour. In "Miserable Lie" Morrissey changed the line "but please put your tongue away" to "Oh but put your mother's dress away". The song sometimes included an extended outro during which Morrissey wailed or mumbled undecipherable lyrics not on the album version.

As he had done before, Morrissey sang the very last line in "Meat Is Murder" to "Who cares if animals die", a change from the usual "Who hears when animals cry." As he had been doing on and off that year, he changed a line in "Miserable Lie" to "I'd really like to be your underwear". In "This Charming Man", Morrissey often changed the meaning of one line by singing "This man said, it's gruesome that someone so ugly should care". He also occasionally sang "I wonder will nature make a man of me yet?" and sometimes made a few other minor previously heard changes. In new live addition "Frankly Mr Shankly" Morrissey sang "I want to do something that I might be ashamed of" instead of what would later be recorded for release. In "Hand In Glove" the second occurrence of "the sun shines out of our behinds" was replaced with a repeat of "the Good People laugh".

 


The Smiths' live recording of James' "What's The World" which appeared on the "I Started Something I Couldn't Finish" cassette single and later reissued on the "Sweet And Tender Hooligan" cd-single was lifted from a recording of the Glasgow concert for radio.

 


At this point in time, only the first 30 minutes of the Irvine concert has made it on video. This footage hasn't been transfered onto DVD yet. DVD compilations of television performances (Top Of The Pops, etc) and interviews often include the September 1985 edition of television programme The Tube that featured a conversation of Morrissey with Margi Clarke interspersed with live footage of the Edinburgh concert, particularly songs "Hand In Glove" and "Meat Is Murder".

 


Each and every one of these shows is commonly found on fanmade bootlegs. The most interesting setlist is obviously the one for the final date in Inverness which included the only ever performance of the song "Asleep". Performance-wise, there is no doubt that the must-have bootlegs are the complete and excellent sounding Irvine, Edinburgh and Glasgow audience recordings. The band and crowd on these three dates were in top form, feeding off each other's energy. The sound quality of the recordings for the latter three dates is almost as good as that of soundboard bootlegs. Edinburgh is particularly interesting for the extended finale of "Miserable Lie" and a performance of "The Headmaster Ritual" which was thereafter dropped from the setlist.

Fans seeking the latter Glasgow audience recording must be aware that it is often miscredited as being from Dundee. They should also be aware of the existence of a trimmed down but more widely circulated radio broadcast which can be found in rather good quality on fanmade CD-Rs under the titles "Kiss The Girls", "Go Glasgow 85" and "Go Glasgow". Similarly, collectors interested in the Edinburgh concert should make sure they get the master transfer and not the more common tape transfer circulated under the title "Edinburgh Playhouse".

Collectors of unique versions will also want the Dundee recording for a unique first verse of "Stretch Out And Wait", somewhere between the original single version and the later alternate version found on "The World Won't Listen". Unfortunately the very good audience recording available for this date is much more difficult to find than an inferior transfer via tape often circulated under the title "Brass And Money".

Bootleg collectors will also want the Lerwick audience recording (available from the good quality master or in inferior form on "Clickerman" or "Send Only 5") as well as the recording of the following date in Aberdeen. These two also feature their own unique first verse of "Stretch Out And Wait", but the latter recording also features this tour's only performance of "Jeane".

Finally, soundchecks from Dundee and Inverness are also available on bootlegs and on the internet. Portions of them are more commonly circulated on the mixed-content bootlegs "Asleep" and "Unloveable". The latter two titles include soundchecks of songs that were never played live, such as "Unloveable", or rarely, such as "Asleep". They also include soundchecks of songs that had just been written and would only be released nine months later on the "The Queen Is Dead" album. Click on links above for full details.

Alternate soundchecks of the songs "Asleep" and "Unloveable" taken from the same source are also found on the "Before Love" cd bootleg as well as "A Nice Bit Of Meat", available on CD and LP. The latter cd and "A Nice Bit Of Meat 2" on LP also include a soundcheck of "What She Said" with "Rock'n'Roll pt 2" also from Inverness.

 

Quotes

In an interview given to the Daily Record in 2013, Johnny said "Youíve got to be doing something very wrong not to have a great time [in Scotland]. The Smiths had a strong connection with Scotland because we played places that a lot of bands didnít play. We had to persuade agents and promoters to let us play places like Inverness, Dundee and Irvine. Thatís the kind of band we were, the kind of people we were. Thatís my apprenticeship and those values are still there. I donít know if indie bands still go there but Iíd like to still do that, if I am invited and it can be done. My band played places other bands didnít play. We went out and played on the Shetland Isles. Iím proud of that ideology and hope that continues. Iíd like to play everywhere in Scotland.Ē