December 19 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Tomorrow might be a special date for admirers of romance, but for Norwich fans of The Smiths it marks three decades since the hugely influential group played a memorable gig in the city ahead of their debut album release.
The group, fronted by Morrissey and featuring guitarist Johnny Marr, had taken Top of the Pops by storm with an iconic performance of This Charming Man on November 24.
Beginning the new year as the hottest new band in an age they embarked on a tour to promote their self-titled first album.
Just a few days before the release, The Smiths played at the University of East Anglia on February 14.
The LCR venue was being refurbished, so the gig was actually held in the foyer of Union House and tickets were £3.
UEA pro-vice-chancellor Professor Neil Ward remembers roadies throwing several armfuls of gladioli into the crowd at the start of the performance.
He was a King’s Lynn A-level student at the time and had no inkling that 30 years after his first visit to the campus he would be working at the university.
He said: “Morrissey kicked off the encore of You’ve Got Everything Now by saying, ‘Thank you Norwich, you’re very convivial people’ and more flowers were strewn around with joyful abandon.
“I was wide-eyed at the front, and when Morrissey left the stage casting off his necklaces into the crowd I managed to grasp a fistful of his beads, which I still have to this day.
“The crowd slowly shuffled off, gradually revealing a mass of mulched foliage all over the floor. Inspired, I set about growing a quiff straight away, which I carefully maintained for the rest of the decade.”
He added: “They were an immensely important cultural force in pop music. I remember being really thrilled to see this mesmerising new band so close up in an intimate venue.”
Did you go to the gig? What are your memories of the night? Post them below or email them, and any pics etc, to firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll be featuring your memories and Prof Ward’s in print tomorrow.