Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Stone Roses - Heaton Park - 29th June 2012

Following an early rise and some dreadful traffic on the M6, we were en route to Manchester for the first of the Stone Roses’ reunion gigs at Heaton Park. Now, I don’t need to explain to any Roses fan the excitement that these gigs have caused… such an unlikely reunion following a bitter, bitter fallout.

Upon reaching Manchester, we set up camp in the brilliantly named “The Spread Eagle” for a few pints. The city was abuzz and pulsing with anticipation with each table discussing ‘the good old days’ when Manchester was a musical Mecca. The gig had excited the imagination of grown men and women all recounting tales of when they saw the Stone Roses for the first time or nights at the Hacienda during the glory days. We encountered some real characters in that place. Everyone had a story… everyone wanted to pass it on.

After a few more drinks in the city centre, we commenced the pilgrimage to Heaton Park. The tram was rammed and people were jumping into taxis the millisecond they were emptying – it appeared that we were not the only ones who fancied attending this gig.

Following a swift frisk from security… we were in. Unfortunately, partly due to our decision to carry on drinking and the subsequent travel issues, we had sacrificed Kid British, The Vaccines and The Wailers. As we walked in Bobby Gillespie and Co were hitting the stage ready to show to really step proceedings up a gear. Primal Scream were as incredible as ever. Last time I had the privilege of seeing them, I was ankle deep in mud at Glastonbury – arguably the best live performance I have ever seen. However, I got the impression from crowd that they were here for one reason only… for Browny and the gang to hit the stage.

And then it happened... a little after 9pm the Stone Roses took to the stage. The intro to “I Wanna Be Adored” rang out around Heaton Park with 75,000 people ready to buy into anything Ian Brown was looking to sell to them. Now, I can’t honestly say I heard Ian Brown’s voice at all during the first song… the crowd were certainly in good voice.

It may sound clichĂ© but the Roses sounded like they had never been apart; there seemed to be real chemistry with the ravages of time not taking their toll on the funk. This was particularly true when “Shoot You Down” rang through the speakers – a beautifully understated performance that kept the crowd engrossed.

It was simply classic after classic – ruining all arguments from idiots who preach that the band only has “11 or 12 good songs”… I can promise you that any of your indie-come-and-go-bands would give anything for even a couple of the Roses’ songs and their longevity.

When the crowd got rowdy, Ian Brown stepped in to get proceedings in order; he warned: 
“There’s people falling down here, pick’em up. That’s what we do when someone goes down, we lift them up again”

“Don’t Stop”, “Love Spreads” and “Made of Stone” sent the capacity crowd into a frenzy with distress flares, ironically, being set off in celebration. There was a real sense of togetherness, a diverse rabble of people from teenagers to those approaching their 50s – it didn’t matter, these songs are timeless.

As has been the case during the warm-up gigs, “I Am The Resurrection” brought an end to proceedings with John Squire going off on one with an immense guitar solo at the end. The boys had put in a great shift!

Following an embrace, the firework show commenced played out to Bob Marley’s classic “Redemption Song”; a beautiful way to end the reunion that was never expected.

The walking, waiting, travel issues, etc were all trivial - they all meant nothing… 75,000 had just witnessed greatness. 

The Stone Roses performed the following:

“I Wanna Be Adored”
“Mersey Paradise”
“(Song for My) Sugar Spun Sister”
“Sally Cinnamon”
“Where Angels Play”
“Shoot You Down”
“Bye Bye Badman”
“Ten Storey Love Song”
“Standing Here”
“Fools Gold”
“Something's Burning”
“Don't Stop”
“Love Spreads”
“Made Of Stone”
“This Is the One”
“She Bangs The Drums”
“Elizabeth My Dear”
“I Am The Resurrection”