The Smiths Newcastle Mayfair 7th March 1984

The Smiths Newcastle Mayfair 7th March 1984
smithstix84I was late getting into the Smiths. They had been in the charts with “This Charming Man” and “What Difference Does It Make?” and were soon to release “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now”. There was a buzz about this band and the press were beginning to hail them as the “band of the moment” (Max Bell, The Times, 24 February 1984 in a review of a Smiths gig at the Lyceum, London). Bell went on to explain: “six months ago this Mancunian four-piece were breaking out of the club circuit. On Sunday they packed the Lyceum Ballroom with an air of reverential expectancy.” Bill Black (Sounds, November, 1983) declared the Smiths “a band verging on greatness”.
By the time I had decided I should go and see the Smiths, their concert at Newcastle Mayfair had been completely sold out for weeks. Still, I thought I’d try and get in, so I wandered along to the Mayfair ballroom on the night of the gig, only to find a massive queue outside the venue, waiting for the doors to open. I wandered up and down the queue shouting “anyone got a spare ticket” and soon scored one for face value. After a short wait the doors opened and we made our way down the stairs into the ballroom. The area on the dance floor around the stage was soon completely packed. I stayed up on the balcony, wandering around. Support came from Red Guitars, who were a left wing indie rock band from Hull. Their first single “Good Technology” was a minor hit.
The Smiths started with “Hand in Glove”, Morrissey sporting hearing aids, and a bunch of gladioli hanging from his back jeans pocket. There was some trouble in the crowd, and a few guys were spitting at Morrissey which caused him to stop singing a couple of times. Overall, however the audience gave the band a great reception, with the Smiths returning for two encores. When they came back on stage for the encores Morrissey was carrying huge armfulls of gladioli which were showered upon the crowd. This was the Smiths at their best, performing songs which have become classics. I remember everyone singing along to “This Charming Man” particularly the line “I would go out tonight, But I haven’t got a stitch to wear”. Happy days.
Setlist: Hand In Glove; Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now; Girl Afraid; This Charming Man; Pretty Girls Make Graves; Still Ill; This Night Has Opened My Eyes; Barbarism Begins At Home; Back To The Old House; What Difference Does It Make?
Encore: Reel Around The Fountain
Encore 2: You’ve Got Everything Now; Handsome Devil

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