After sorting out ticket refunds to the canceled gigs in both Seattle and Singapore last year, we wondered if we would ever catch Johnny Marr live. It doesn't matter so much to me, but the man loves The Smiths. Well, there's this perennial argument. I love The Smiths too, but the band isn't just about Morrissey or Johnny Marr. Watching them solo isn't the same as watching The Smiths all together. Anyway.
Since 2005, Johnny Marr is supposedly vegan and also a teetotaler. At 51 years old, he looked great on stage. Post The Smiths, besides dipping his finger into every pie in the scene, Johnny Marr has also released solo albums of 'The Messenger' in 2013 and a year later, 'Playland'.
At this weird but comfortable venue of the concert hall of the University Cultural Center, at least the gig began on time. Not like Morrissey's 2012 gig that made us wait a full hour. Boo. I truly HATE waiting around for gigs. Johnny Marr did a solid 1.5-hour set, opening with 'Playland', then The Smiths' crowd favorites including of 'Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before'. There was of course 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out'. Stoked that the night ended with five songs for the encore. He already put 'Panic' into the main set, so for the encore, he did 'Dynamo'. We really really wanted to hear 'Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want', and he did that! Woot. There were the covers of Depeche Mode's 'I Feel You', and The Clash's version (or rather The Crickets as the original) 'I Fought The Law', and the night finally ended with 'How Soon Is Now'. (See that setlist for yourself.)
It must be the age or something. It was a great night, but it wasn't rock-out sweat-dripping awesome. Like I said, Johnny Marr isn't The Smiths on stage all together. Morrissey has to be on stage too; Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce are needed too. Kinda strange that not many people attended the gig. There must have been less than 600 persons in the hall. Whatever. It meant that everyone had plenty of space to rush up to the front. All of us stood and jived throughout the 1.5 hours. Evergreen tunes, classic riffs, good melodic sing-along rock songs.