02 Academy Newcastle
Friday 18th May 2018
With the instantly recognisable and emotive sound of Romeo and Juliet Montagues and Capulets filling the room I knew immediately that I had made the right decision in finally going to see a Smiths tribute band.
Always hesitant in the past (over 3 decades of unashamed hero worship after all) I took the plunge thinking I'll never know until I try it.
The Smyths are a tribute band formed in 2003 who tour the UK extensively, overseas, festivals and even Glastonbury. They have played the 02 Academy Newcastle many times previously so with that in mind plus watching some YouTube footage I realised that they were the tribute band to see (there are of course other tribute bands to The Smiths but for me none stood out as much as these for authenticity)
On the band's website page they say “We didn't just want to be a tribute band - we wanted to play the music of The Smiths and recreate what it was to see and hear The Smiths live”
As the intro finished a big cheer erupted from the crowd as we welcomed ‘Morrissey’ onto the stage. The tour was entitled Unite & Take Over The Best Of The Smiths and Morrissey, a celebration of 30 years since Morrissey started his solo career, and as each song started I kept thinking to myself I love this one - that was definitely my mantra all night.
I'd wondered how the format of the show would be i.e one set Smiths then the other one Morrissey? but was thrilled that it was mixed up together with around 2 hours in total of songs - far too many to mention, but including the classics This Charming Man, Shoplifters Of The World Unite, Suedehead, How Soon Is Now, The Last Of The Famous International Playboys, William It Was Really Nothing, Everyday Is Like Sunday, The Queen is Dead, Sheila Take A Bow, Still Ill, Hand In Glove and a smattering of maybe lesser known and played songs such as Pretty Girls Make Graves.
The highlight for me personally was the anthemic There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, I was singing along all night but even louder when they played this.
The lighting was done well and the sound on the night was good, there were a few minor sound issues at the beginning but they soon got sorted.
The only downside was when someone near the front started heckling when the singer was trying to tell a story. I couldn't make out what they were shouting but it was enough to stop the singer mid story and ask the heckler what the problem was. I hoped it wasn't going to put the singer off his performance (or even worse a Morrisseyesque walk off the stage) but I'm pleased that didn't happen, the show continued and the story was told later on in the show
It was a great experience and definitely the next best thing to seeing the actual The Smiths. The band played very well and interacted with the audience. Most importantly, the singer sounded very much like Morrissey, on some songs uncannily so, he had the look of him plus his on stage mannerisms were captured perfectly, I was very impressed.
I loved it all and it took me right back to my youth when I used to play the songs over and over again.
The gig was very well attended, the crowd appreciative and in great voice with lots of singing along and dancing.
It was brilliant to see a crowd made up of people who were around and into The Smiths at the time like myself and also lots of teenagers and people in their 20s who knew every word and sang along to the songs too.
It was announced on the mic last night that The Smyths will be touring again at the back of this year with a show entitled Songs of Love and Hate Tour and will be playing the 02 Academy Newcastle on Thursday 20th December 2018. Tickets are now on sale.
I for one shall definitely be there