The Smiths are one of those bands who are subject to countless reunion rumours almost monthly. In fact, just recently Johnny Marr was forced to hilariously refute some whispers of him and Morrissey sharing a stage for the first time since December 1986.
Though the iconic songwriting partnership of Morrissey and Marr haven’t performed together in 33 years, The Smiths have had one reunion of sorts. We’re looking back at the moment Morrissey, Mike Joyce, and Andy Rourke all got up on stage to perform Smiths classics at Wolverhampton Civic Hall as well as some Moz originals on December 22nd, 1988.
The Smiths officially called it a day in the winter of 1987 when Johnny Marr departed the group. It wouldn’t take long for Morrissey to start working with some of Factory Records finest in Stephen Street and Vini Reilly. Moz would release the record Viva Hate in 1988 and his iconoclasm would grow.
Perhaps looking to bring the band back together for a newly Morrissey-charged shot at stardom, the singer’s manager contacted his former band members to take part in a reunion at the midlands music venue. While Rourke and Joyce would take up the offer, as one might expect, Johnny Marr refused the invitation and was replaced by guitarist Craig Gannon.
After being announced on the legendary John Peel radio show, the gig would see fans gain entry if they had a The Smiths or Morrissey t-shirt on. It would bring in an audience of maniacal Moz fans and a suitably raucous crowd makes for an entertaining 40-minute set, on .
Opening with ‘Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before’, the band would give Smiths fans a real treat by playing songs that had never been performed live before. The group also motored through a host of Morrissey solo tracks ‘Suedehead,’ ‘Last Of The Famous International Playboys,’ and ‘Sister I’m A Poet’ as well as The Smiths’ ‘Sweet And Tender Hooligan’.
It makes for a thrilling watch for any dedicated fans of The Smiths, while we won’t say this is a ‘reunion’ as we’d like it – no Marr, no reunion – the performance is a glimpse of the band’s feverish power at the height of their fame.