Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Time's Tide Will Smother You

I celebrated my 19th birthday 26 years ago today by going to see The Smiths at Victoria Hall in Hanley.

These were heady days for Morrissey & Marr. Meat Is Murder, the second studio album, had been released in February and was heading to number one. The new single, Shakespeare's Sister, was out that very week. Iconic Top of the Pops appearances were becoming regular treats.

The price on the ticket has been neatly but mysteriously covered by a felt-tip. I presume the promoters hiked the original price when the success of the album surprised everyone. I can't remember how much the big-haired, teenage me had to pay but Morrissey did give a clue during the most memorable part of the gig.

It was towards the end and the band had just launched into the title track of the album. Suddenly something was thrown from the crowd. It hit Morrissey straight in the face. He dropped the microphone and stormed off while Marr, Rourke and Joyce played on.

A minute later Morrissey marched back on the stage and muttered into the mic, "Very clever. People have actually paid five pounds to throw things at me."

He then carried on as if nothing had happened.

It later emerged that the offending missile was a packet of sausages.

Photo: Author's own

Listening to Meat Is Murder today is still thrilling and joyful and funny. Some of the lyrics are once heard, never forgotten: Time's tide will smother you (That Joke isn't Funny Anymore), I'd like to drop my trousers to the Queen (Nowhere Fast), Belligerent ghouls run Manchester schools, spineless bastards all (The Headmaster Ritual), A boy is stabbed and his money is grabbed and the air hangs heavy like a dulling wine (Rusholme Ruffians).

And, as 19th birthdays go, hearing them performed live by a band at the peak of their magnificent powers was just about as good as it gets.

Set list: William, It Was Really Nothing; Nowhere Fast; I Want The One I Can't Have; Handsome Devil; What She Said; the glorious How Soon Is Now? (first heard on a John Peel session during a caravan holiday in Anglesey the previous August with Paul and Des); Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now; Stretch Out And Wait; That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore; Shakespeare's Sister; Rusholme Ruffians; The Headmaster Ritual; Still Ill; Hand In Glove; Meat Is Murder; Miserable Lie; Barbarism Begins At Home (the only Smiths song featuring a Morrissey bark).

No comments:

Post a Comment