Former Smiths Members Reuniting for Orchestral Shows
Former Smiths members Andy Rourke, Mike Joyce and Craig Gannon, have confirmed that they will perform with an orchestra under the banner "Classically Smiths." The trio will perform alongside the Manchester Camerata Orchestra at venues in Manchester, London and Edinburgh in the U.K. with a full tour to follow. Confirmed dates can be seen below. They vowed to deliver the Smiths' catalog "as you have never heard it before" with an "epic production" propelling "the legacy of the band into the here and now."
Joyce teased the project on Facebook last week and gave more details today to the Manchester Evening News. "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," he said. "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. I’m really looking forward to fans being able to hear the songs in a way they’ve never been heard before, either on record or live. On the stage, or out front, this is going to be quite an experience for us all.”
Guest vocalists for the shows have not yet been confirmed, but bassist Rourke said, "To have been there the first time round and seen it first hand, and to still be such a big fan of the Smiths today, I am both thrilled and excited to be involved in Classically Smiths. I’m really proud of the band’s work, and being able to present those songs again in this particular production format promises to be a real gift for audiences everywhere.”
Guitarist Gannon added, "Classically Smiths will be a refreshing and exciting production, not only for us as musicians, but ultimately for the people coming to see and hear it. …When using an orchestra with a band, there are so many different approaches you can take. But rather than us bending something out of shape or forcing a completely different musical angle on it, we’re doing this with the greatest respect and admiration for the songs we all love."
The Smiths released four studio albums between their formation in 1982 and their split five years later. Joyce, Rourke, frontman Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr were the mainstays of the lineup for most of its existence, with second guitarist Gannon a member during 1986. Joyce and Rourke launched a lawsuit against Morrissey and Marr three years later, which was finally settled in Joyce’s favor in 1996. Rourke had accepted an out-of-court settlement some years previously.
Morrissey has frequently ruled out the chance of a reunion. In 2016 he said, "It’s no longer a question of time or wounds, but simply that the issue is now so remote that the question doesn’t make sense any more."
Classically Smiths U.K. Dates 2018
Jun. 28 – Manchester, O2 Apollo
Jun. 29 – London O2, Academy Brixton
Jul. 2 – Edinburgh, Usher Hall