Friday, March 16, 2007

smiths | wolverhampton | 1986

smiths | the queen is dead

how were we to know?
having loved the smiths since hearing the early singles (mentioned elsewhere in this blog) i'd wanted to see them live so badly.

but how were we to know?

how were we to know that "the queen is dead" tour would be the end of the smiths?

i got tickets for the smiths' wolverhampton show - i'd be going with my cure-loving friend - and we caught the train.
i can't explain just how excited i was.
i, like so many other spotty teenage boys, simply adored the smiths. lived for the smiths. doted on the smiths.

most of the concerts i went to didn't have merchandise like t-shirts and stuff.
you didn't get that a lot with indie bands.
just a few records and cassettes on a table in a corner.
but of course the smiths were HUGE.
i bought a t-shirt.
(i've spent a while looking round this here internet thing for a picture of the shirt but i can't find one).
it was a pink shirt with a red print on the front - a small boy eating an ice cream cone.

i put it on in the toilets of the venue.
so did everyone else.
there was a sea of pink.
boys in pink.

with a good 30 minutes or so before the show started and the standing room at the front of the stage (i suppose you youngsters would call it the "mosh pit" nowadays) already looked far to scary to me and my friend.

we decided to take a position up on the balcony looking at the stage from the left hand side.
and in fact, due to the shape of the wolverhampton civic hall, we were far closer to the stage and the band than most of the rest of the audience.

supporting the smiths that night were the truly dreadful raymonde.
45 minutes of dire dour indie timewasting.

or was it just the anticipation of the smiths that made raymonde seem so awful?

finally the moment arrived.
prokofiev's "march of the capulets" blasted from the PA and the smiths came on.

i don't remember much of the show.
i simply stood in awe from beginning to end.
i didn't even cheer.
it was all a bit too much.

shortly after the tour ended the smiths split and that was that.
as i've mentioned before, personally i didn't like any of the band's last few releases - "last night i dreamt...", "strangeways" etc - and so for me the end of the smiths was a low in terms of records.

but it was a huge high in the case of seeing a band at the heights playing a show that turned the audience into raving, screaming animals.

surely that's how gigs should be?


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