Johnny Marr review: Where Morrissey failed, his Smiths bandmate scores a clear win (4/5 stars) - The Sydney Morning Herald
by Bernard Zuel
Comparisons are odious, no doubt, and a cheap shot one way or another. But it's too hard to ignore, two months after Morrissey – Johnny Marr's partner in the Smiths and his tetchy rival in the 30 years since – played in these parts.
Both have far longer solo careers than their brief, if storied, time in that great Manchester band of the 1980s, yet never is a word written about them without reference to the Smiths, often suggesting that no matter how good their subsequent work is, it will never match what they did then.
Of course, that's unfair and not automatically right, as the dull Smiths' songs What She Said and Meat Is Murder proved in May. And, of course, that's never going to change.
But if it is true that Morrissey and Marr unfairly carry the weight of those six years of oft-brilliant songwriting and recording, it's also true both are lifted by the deep emotional legacy of that band. Put it this way, at both shows, while the best of their solo years earn strong cheers, any moments of the Smiths are greeted with roof-rattling roars of recognition, connection and satisfaction.
The test is how do they build around it and how do they bring us to the "best of the rest"?
Morrissey, a stage natural, this year failed where he had succeeded in 2012, resting on his charisma and loading the set with the fruits of a dull recent record.
Marr, an inferior singer, by contrast built on the explosions of joy that were his 2014 Australian shows, helped not just by a better choice of Smiths songs (the thrill of a long unheard The Headmaster Ritual; the glorious pleasures of There Is a Light That Never Goes Out) and a better grade of non-Smiths material, but a better grasp of how to enjoy the moment.
- "Morrissey review: Sometimes the world really is full of crushing bores" by Bernard Zuel - The Sydney Morning Herald (from original thread posted by realitybites)