An unusual venue for guitar hero Johnny Marr as the racing fraternity met the rock world. But it turned out there were few hurdles to mount as ex-Smiths guitarist won the crowd over from the start, first past the post was Upstarts and then old Smiths tune Panic, the latter prompting the first of many mass singalongs. The ridiculously youthful and spritely Marr is very much your old fashioned, unreconstructed lead guitarist, pumping out Who-style licks on The Right Thing Right before wowing the crowd with some wonderfully fluid guitar lines on Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before, introduced as “an old folk song from Manchester”. Old Electronic song Getting Away With It was spruced up with added guitar, while new songs Easy Money and Candidate were well received. Inevitably it was Smiths material that received the biggest response. Marr didn’t disappoint, dusting off deeply impressive versions of Bigmouth Strikes Again and There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.
An encore featuring Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want saw an old-fashioned “lighters in the air moment”, not something found at indoor gigs these days. After a rabble-rousing version of I Fought The Law, the set concluded with Smiths classic How Soon Is Now. It is hard not to think of Marr’s old bandmate when you listen to him sing, there’s nothing wrong with his vocals per se but it’s just not quite the full Morrissey. The purists might have been happier with an instrumental gig but the rest of us were just glad to see the boy happy.