Johnny Marr @ Irving Plaza, 5/2/2013
Johnny Marr
Johnny Marr

Everyone obsesses over why the Smiths broke up. But can you tell me about one of your happiest memories in that band?
Tons of them! When we gate-crashed Glastonbury festival '84 or '85 -- I can't remember the year, but I remember the situation. Glastonbury was very different then, of course, but it was nevertheless an alternative festival. And we were outsiders. We'd had a couple of hits by then, but just kind of stood out on our own. I felt part of something new. It's easier to be alternative at the Grammys. But to be alternative in a field full of English snobs was quite a feat. There were many, many amazing times that filled me with pride like that.

And all of a sudden, your following became fanatic. And legion.
When we gained success, we had that thing going, like a lot of bands did, where people jump out in front of cars and pull you off the stage. They climbed on the outside of hotels to try to get into windows. Those kind of things. Used to go on quite a lot, really. That was kind of freaky, especially because I was so young.

And now you're going to be 50. How do you plan to celebrate your birthday?
Probably in a tour bus between Nottingham and Liverpool. [Laughs.] I'm not freaked out by getting to 50. I never really paid too much attention to those things. But it's also because I've been able to mark out periods of my life with records and bands and those kinds of things. That's always what I've wanted. I have to say that playing the Inception soundtrack with an orchestra at the Cannes Film Festival was probably a bigger kind of marking point in this period of my life. I'll remember that more than a day on the bus with some candles. As long as people [book] me decent gigs, that's all I'm about, man. - [Vulture]

Johnny Marr's solo tour hit NYC last night at Irving Plaza, the first of two sold-out shows here. The former Smiths guitarist, who has spent time in Electronic, The The, Modest Mouse and The Cribs as well, is supporting his not-too-shabby solo debut, The Messenger, but wasn't shy about recognizing his past either. Irving Plaza got five Smiths songs: "Bigmouth Strikes Again," "London," "Stop Me If You Think That You've Heard This One Before," "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out," and "How Soon is Now?," which was the final song of the evening. And he did a bang-up job, too, and seems to be having a blast playing them. To quote our photographer, who has shot Moz more than once, "he sings them so much better than Morrissey!!!" Marr also did a few Electronic songs (his collaboration with New Order's Bernard Sumner), including their discofied hit "Getting Away with It." Setlist below.

Johnny Marr and tourmates Alamar play NYC again tonight (5/3) at Music Hall of Williamsburg (sold out). Seeing how it's his second night here, maybe he'll switch up the Smiths songs. Toronto got "The Queen is Dead" instead of "London." More pictures and the setlist from Irving Plaza below...

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SETLIST: Johnny Marr @ Irving Plaza 5/2/2013
The Right Thing Right
Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before
Upstarts
Sun & Moon
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
Forbidden City
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?