The Academy is the venue for this evening’s gig, and we make the short walk from the city centre through the Gorbals just in time to catch support act Childhood, who are promoting their new album Lacuna.
Having been championed by tonight’s headliner on a few occasions, the band prove to be a solid support act, playing a well-polished brand of guitar pop.
Even though the crowd seem a little subdued during Childhood’s set, each song is rightfully applauded, but the anticipation for the headliner implies that there is only one man with the ability to get the packed Academy bouncing this evening.
Backlit by a huge sign which reads Playland (the name of Johnny Marr’s new album), opening with the album’s title track seems appropriate, before the legendary guitarist steps it up a notch with the awesome trio of The Smiths archetypal ‘Panic’, 2013 single ‘Upstarts’ and new single ‘Easy Money’, all of which get the audience dancing and singing along.
Other Smiths tracks, including ‘The Headmaster Ritual’ and ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’, naturally get the best crowd reactions and Marr and his backing band execute them flawlessly, while other solo songs including ‘Generate! Generate!’ and ‘Boys Get Straight’ prove to be other highlights, and ones able to compete with these Smiths favourites within a live music environment.
The career-spanning set also includes ‘Getting Away With It’ from Marr & Bernard Sumner’s 90’s band Electronic, before the set closes with the huge singalong of ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’.
The often cringe worthy “here we fucking go!” has changed this evening, the adoring crowd bawling out “Johnny fucking Marr”, before Marr’s drummer arrives on stage and begins the encore with the familiar drum introduction of 1984 hit ‘Still Ill’, in which Marr shows the crowd the guitar wizardry that he is famous for, before new song ‘Dynamo’, a jumping cover of Iggy Pop’s ‘Lust For Life’ and an epic version of ‘How Soon Is Now?’ complete the set.
This evening wasn’t all about reliving the Smiths, and it certainly wasn’t a case of out with the old and in with the new, this was an audience of all ages celebrating the work one of the planet’s best guitarists doing what he does best.
Words: Neil Hayton
Photos: Stewart Fullerton