In 1985, The Smiths were at the height of the impenetrable powers, charming audiences with their soft-boy image and layered lyrical content. They were on the Meat is Murder tour and were in undeniably fine form.
But alas, we will never really get to experience what it was like to see Morrissey and Marr at their swashbuckling best. Until now, of course, as we’re revisiting rare footage of two shows recorded during the aforementioned tour.
The first tape is a rendition of Meat Is Murder track ‘Nowhere Fast’ from their show in Paseo De Camoens, Madrid on May 18th 1985. If you were in attendance, you may be the luckiest fan in the world as it shows The Smiths in a full buoyant swing. Confident of their music, their output, their identity—and just before it all got a little aggressive. It even features Moz in a fedora, so what more could you want?
The now-iconic album, which was released through Rough Trade, became the band’s only number one on the UK Albums Chart, and, with uncompromising domination, remained on the chart for thirteen weeks. The album not only demonstrated the band’s maturity in sound, but a signal of intent as The Smiths started to lean toward themes of a political nature—a topic which will now make fans of the band wince given Morrissey’s recent comments.
The second video sees the band on the same tour, a little further down the line judging by Morrissey’s sometimes broken voice, but instead, play one of their more cult-hits. The infamous ‘Stretch Out and Wait’ taken from The Queen Is Dead—notoriously known as being a song about existentialism, it’s a joy to see it played live, this time in Orange County, California.
Whatever you think of Morrissey’s recent verbal diarrhoea, one thing is for sure, the man changed music, and he did so with performances like this.