Last week, as I write, this blog and its beloved went to see Johnny Marr play at that lugubrious Dublin venue, The Academy. For anyone in their 40s who had seen The Smiths in their heyday (i.e. any point in their brief career), it was an extraordinary experience. Johnny Marr has finally settled back into his skin, reclaiming his role as the guitar hero of a generation and the man behind some of the most delightfully crafted chord sequences ever created. He not only has a fine solo album, The Messenger, out, but he’s now merrily playing some of those old greats like it was the most natural thing in the world.
And really, it should be the most natural thing in the world. They’re 50% his songs.
The ‘surprise’ (and, really, we should have had more faith) is just how natural it is for him to play – and for us to hear. His former sidekick Morrissey has been playing the same songs on and off for nigh on 20 years, as he was the voice and the melody we had all known and adored on those records. However, it was but a bar or so into Marr’s rendition of ‘Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before’ (the second song of his set) that it becomes obvious what we’ve been missing all these years – hearing those songs played properly. Continue reading