The Smiths may have arrived on the scene at a young age, Morrissey was 23 at their first show and the other members just 19, they certainly didn’t arrive with the naivety of one. While most bands’ first few shows can be an awkward affair, the Smiths’ third ever live performance at Manchester’s legendary Hacienda club, was a slick, charismatic performance, anchored by the potency of Johnny Marr jangling soundscapes and Morrissey’s wonderfully, inimitable literary wit.
They had played their first show four months earlier with Dale Hibbert on bass, who was replaced by friend Andy Rourke, completing the iconic line-up before their second show in New York in January of 1983. A little over a week later, they would hit the stage for a hometown debut that would more or less define the impending wave of indie rock that would dominate the UK music scene in the years that followed.
The seminal set included classics like “These Things Take Time,” “What Difference Does It Make,” “Handsome Devil,” “Jeane,” “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle” and their debut single, “Hand In Glove.” All performed with the same verve and virility that the band would champion during their short time at the top. Morrissey kicks off the show by introducing himself and the band, taking the opportunity to clarify, “Hello, we are the Smiths. We are not ‘Smiths,’ we are The Smiths.” But it wouldn’t be too long before they were a household name around the world.
The Smiths | Live at the Hacienda, February 4th 1983
Listen to The Smiths on Spotify:
Listen to The Smiths on Apple Music: