The Smiths reunite - sort of - for classical concerts

January 23, 2018 GMT

The Smiths are reuniting without Morrissey and Johnny Marr for a series of orchestral concerts.

Drummer Mike Joyce, bassist Andy Rourke and occasional guitarist Craig Gannon, have teamed up for the first time in 31 years to perform the classic rock group’s songs re-imagined with Manchester’s award-winning Camerata Orchestra.

Different singers will be recruited to take on the band’s frontman Morrissey’s signature baritone-style vocals at gigs scheduled in Manchester, London and Edinburgh.

Joyce said: “I’m massively excited to be playing with Andy and Craig again, but introducing a full orchestra into the mix takes this to another level.”

“There’ll be Smiths classics in the set, but I can’t wait to play the songs that have never been heard live before. With the addition of an orchestra, it will sound as totally unique as it will immense.”

The concert series, titled ‘Classically Smiths’, will feature “faithfully re-produced and beautifully augmented” renditions of the group’s classic hits such as 1986′s ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ and ‘The Boy With The Thorn In His Side’ from their seminal studio album, ‘The Queen Is Dead’.

The director of the gigs, Joel Perry, described the show as a “celebration of the melancholic exuberance that only that band were capable of providing”.

The punk rockers last played together at their final show in 1986, at London’s Brixton Academy.

The closest Morrissey and guitarist Marr came to reforming the ‘Panic’ group was in 2008.

Morrissey, 58 - who fronted the band from their formation in 1982, to their split in 1987 - revealed he once met up with his former bandmate in a pub and discussed the possibility of reuniting.

Writing in his memoir ‘Set The Boy Free’, Marr wrote: “Suddenly we were talking about the possibility of the band reforming, and in that moment it seemed that with the right intention it could actually be done and might even be great.

“I was genuinely pleased to be back in touch with Morrissey, and [current band] the Cribs and I talked about the possibility of me playing some shows with The Smiths. For four days it was a very real prospect.

Johnny then details how the plan went wrong when Morrissey, 57, suddenly stopped returning his calls.

He wrote: “Morrissey and I continued our dialogue and planned to meet up again. I went to Mexico with the Cribs, and then suddenly there was radio silence. Our communication ended, and things went back to how they were and how I expect they always will be.”

Tickets for the three shows go on sale on Friday (26.01.18), with more concerts expected to be announced in coming weeks.