One night before concluding his solo headlining tour of the United States, former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr surprised his crowd at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn by inviting his former bandmate Andy Rourke onstage. The childhood friends raced through their former group’s hit “How Soon Is Now?”
After a solo set in support of his recent and first solo album, The Messenger, Marr returned for a multi-song encore that included a cover of “I Fought the Law,” the blazing outsider anthem written by the Crickets and popularized by the Clash. Before Marr’s final song, he introduced the bassist (who now lives in New York) with a sweet tribute. “When I was 15, I formed one of the first bands with my best friend. He was at that time one of the best musicians I’d ever heard; we were just kids,” he recalled. “Then in 1982, I formed a band in Manchester and I asked my best friend to come and play the bass with me, and he was still one of the best musicians I’d ever heard. And tonight, 30 years later, I’m gonna invite one of my best friends in the world – and he’s still one of the best musicians I’ve ever heard.”
Check out Marr and Rourke’s joyous run through their former group’s 1985 hit, Marr pinch-hitting for Morrissey’s mewling vocals. It may be the closest to a Smiths reunion that Brooklyn – or the world – will see.