Click on the link here for Audio Player – The Smiths in Concert from Hamburg, Germany – 1984 – WDR
I wasn’t sure what the acquired taste was, as I liked The Smiths from the second I heard them. Apparently, even today, there are a lot of people who are divided into the “love ’em or hate ’em” category. One thing was certain about the Smiths – a passively approached band they weren’t.
With all due fairness, when The Smiths started causing a stir, they were unique in the then-current music scene. No one sounded quite like them, and nobody’s songs could quite match up to what Morrissey was doing at the time. Whereas much of music at the time was leaning in the direction of “wake me up before you go-go”, The Smiths offered something a little more cerebral, even if it was a somewhat down-trodden. It was music with a heart, conscience and with meat on its bones. They were, for all intents and purposes, a breath of fresh air. And over the years, certainly within the city limits of the band’s hometown, Manchester, their influence has been widely felt.
So this weekend it’s one of their earlier concerts, recorded in Hamburg, Germany by the venerable Westdeutscher Rundfunk, in 1984.
If you can try and put yourself in the 1984 mindset – not having heard this band before, and not familiar with any of the stories or press, and you had no preconceived notion of The Smiths were all about, it can be an enjoyable experience. It depends on how you feel about the message.
Like I said, chances are you will love them or hate them – but crank it up as high as you can anyway.