Johnny Marr Manchester Ritz 22 March 2013

Johnny Marr Manchester Ritz 22 March 2013
johnnymarrtixLaura is a big Smiths fan. She has seen Morrissey several times and saw Johnny Marr play with the Cribs, and loves anything to do with the Smiths. This was our first opportunity to see Johnny solo, so as soon as tickets went on sale, we bought a couple for this home coming gig, which sold out quickly. We drove down to Manchester yesterday afternoon with plenty of time to spare, to allow for bad weather. Diving wasn’t too bad, although it was very slow going across the M62 because of snow and long queues. We arrived in Manchester around 5pm and went for a pizza in Revolution. Manchester Ritz is a great, quite small, venue in the centre of the city. Laura and I have been there once before to see Suede, a few years ago. We entered the venue around 7.15pm, in time to catch support act Furs, a London-based band who played some pretty good 60s tinged music. Laura bought a signed vinyl copy of Johnny’s new album; The Messenger, and I bought a set of badges. Johnny Marr took to the stage at 8.30pm to a great roar from his home crowd. The Ritz looms large in Smith history, as it was the first venue they played back in the early 80s, a fact that Johnny made reference to. The set was a mix of songs from the new album, Smiths songs and songs from his time with Electronic, the dance supergroup that he formed with Bernard Sumner of New Order. johnnymarr The new songs are good, with a few pretty strong tunes, but it was (of course) the Smiths tracks that got the best reception from the Manchester crowd. Laura was particularly pleased that he chose to play London, as it is a relatively unknown Smiths song. Standouts for me were a great version of I Fought the Law ala the Clash (took me back), and an astounding version of How Soon is Now? Johnny handles vocal duties himself, and did a great job too. There was mega singing along and dancing to How Soon is Now? and There is a Light. A pretty special night, which we both really enjoyed. Johnny Marr finished at 10pm prompt; there was a curfew as the Ritz turns into a club night at 10.30pm on a Friday. The snow was coming down quite heavily as we drove back across the M62 and the journey was pretty scary; thankfully we got home safe around 1am. Setlist: The Right Thing Right; Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before; Upstarts; Sun And Moon; Forbidden City; European Me; London; Lockdown; The Messenger; Generate! Generate!; Say Demesne; Bigmouth Strikes Again; Word Starts Attack; New Town Velocity; I Want the Heartbeat. Encore: I Fought The Law; Getting Away With It; How Soon Is Now?; There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.

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