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The Stone Roses, Heaton Park, MCR: 30/06

Alex Horne bears witness to a resurrection

Published on July 1st 2012.

The Stone Roses, Heaton Park, MCR: 30/06

THE success of The Stone Roses’ return to Manchester was something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, it would take a particularly confrontational journalist to disparage the pride of Manchester on their homecoming after sixteen years. It is for this reason that it should be stressed that no amount of self deception was needed to regard last night’s show as a resounding triumph. 

Looking back at the ocean of ecstatic faces, upturned to the sky in reverence, there was the sense that no other band in any other place in the world could be so unequivocally adored. 

History has been kind to The Stone Roses in a way that it has to few other acts; especially for a band who succumbed so spectacularly to the second album syndrome. In the space between their final show in 1996 and the present the four men have taken on a mythological status that even surpasses the ‘Godlike Genius Award’ bestowed upon Brown in 2006. 

The exponential growth of the band’s appeal is a testament to their Earth-moving debut, an album that energised a subculture with an optimism and unity that had been absent since the zenith of the Hippie movement, and one that has been sorely lacking since.

That aura of belonging was reinvigorated last night from the first rumblings of ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ and carried well past the truly momentous finale of ‘(I Am The) Resurrection’, complete with fireworks to punctuate Mani’s exclamation that ‘we’re fucking back’. Looking back at the ocean of ecstatic faces, upturned to the sky in reverence, there was the sense that no other band in any other place in the world could be so unequivocally adored. 

Stone Roses back in the day on the back of that albumStone Roses back in the day on the back of that album

Of course, with regard to Ian Brown’s casual singing style, as far as the crowd was concerned, the Emperor was still fully clothed. It has to be said, however, that bolstered by Reni’s backing the frontman’s performance was infinitely better than on his solo outings. Even if anyone in the crowd had the temerity to expose the Monkey King, they were drowned out by those who love Brown precisely for the panache with which he pulls off his idiosyncratic delivery as they echoed his every word back at him. 

In a set designed to leave no one unsatisfied cherry picking highlights seems almost futile. Nevertheless, the sight of over 70,000 people all marching to the blissful groove of ‘Fool’s Gold’ encapsulated the sense that there was something bigger taking place than a mere indulgence in nostalgia. Mani and Squire’s guitars felt vital and exhilarating, and I do mean felt. Even when battling against the occasionally insufficient sound system their irrepressible funk released something atavistic in the crowd. 

Not only were the instrumentals evocative and joyful, they were precise and expertly performed. Mani’s time with Primal Scream has kept his bass playing pulsating, sonorous and, well, primal. A fact that was proven best by the stunning ‘Waterfall’, a song that inspired perhaps the greatest crowd response; prompting one punter to bellow ‘fuck you rain, we don’t need you, we’ve got The Stone Roses!’ to local applause. 

Individual accolades aside, it is the synergy the band achieves when the four men are onstage that pushes them above and beyond being a successful group into the realms of super-stardom.

Whether grinding out the awe-inspiring sounds of ‘Love Spreads’ or inflecting the monumental ‘This is the One’ with an almost ethereal glow, John Squire was as faultless as one would expect from the deservedly legendary guitarist. Similarly Reni was an unstoppable powerhouse crashing down on his kit with unreserved force throughout the night. Nowhere more emphatically than on the towering ‘She Bangs the Drums’ which precipitated arm waving and stranger embracing on an unprecedented scale.

Individual accolades aside, it is the synergy the band achieves when the four men are onstage that pushes them above and beyond being a successful group into the realms of super-stardom. Squire, Remi and Mani have all been recognised as excellent musicians in their own right but it is as a cohesive unit, with Brown as the swaggering pilot, that they reach their highest potential.  

After last night’s overwhelmingly euphoric performance it would take a hardened cynic to view this reunion as simply another band past their prime cashing in on the lucrative nostalgia market. Where The Stone Roses can go from here is unclear but where they were last night was indisputable: in the birthplace of their legacy captivating an elated crowd of old and new fans alike with music that is still relevant and still uniquely Mancunian. 


Crowd loveCrowd love

Thanks to www.nme.com (top) and the Sacalavic Blogspot (bottom) for pictures

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22 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Daniel JamesJuly 1st 2012.

Either Mani is the the most under- rated backing singer or Ian brown had many, many backing tapes or wasn't singing live.

That aside friday was amazing, wonderful vibe and friendly crowd - wouldn't have missed it for the world!

Poster BoyJuly 2nd 2012.

Excellent review.

paulsouthernJuly 2nd 2012.

Loved it! I now have two Stone Roses tickets on my pin board, two Sundays 22 years apart. Spike Island and Heaton Park. Fantastic hazy memories. And whoever came up with the 'Front Pit' idea is a genius, I'm an old bloke and generally don't do the front much nowadays but it worked perfectly and I was right there with my son, not squashed, not showered in p*** and amazing atmosphere.

FurFoxAcheJuly 2nd 2012.

Can we have more gigs like this please? Town was lovely and quiet on Friday and Saturday after 8pm.

1 Response: Reply To This...
KasJuly 3rd 2012.

And it only took me an hour and 50 minutes and an extra 12 miles to get home to Whitefield from work on Friday......

vicarinatutuJuly 3rd 2012.

The axe-man is a legend. Better than Jonny Marr? Probably.

David BishopJuly 3rd 2012.

Couple of points that have been on my mind since Friday - The queues at the bar were unforgivable.... and the lack of transport after was quite shocking for a city aiming to be the second city.

Dylan McCafferyJuly 3rd 2012.

I went to Friday and Saturday, If you got there before 5pm for 'The Day' and not 2 bandsScream/BeadyEye and then the Roses- trust me on this - you could get:
1.You would have got transportation to your expectation.
2. A pint
3. Into the front Pit
Silly you if you all decided to get there at once!
Stop moaning it was pure magic.... it was the One!

AnonymousJuly 3rd 2012.

Just me then that thought it was horrendous. Never seen so many drugged up scallies off their faces throwing piss, beer, wellies, anything they could get their hands on. The accoustics were horrendous and Ian Brown can't hold a note.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Debbie MewesJuly 6th 2012.

For you to not have enjoyed the gig, one must question whether or not you were that off your face you didnt realise where you were or how you got there!

Charles SweeneyJuly 3rd 2012.

Great gig, the band sounded tight. The sound was off a few times but I think it was more to do with the engineers or the equipment and brown was off key for a couple of the songs but generally sounded great. All that didn't matter in the end as the band and the crowds energy just kept pushing everything forward. The only grumble I have is the organisation of the bars, there clearly was not enough staff or bars and on a couple of occasions I felt that there was going to be problems with crushing or rioting from the poor set up. All night with no drinks but still had a mega time....

Claire LeamanJuly 3rd 2012.

blah blah they were wicked I had the best time!

Dylan McCafferyJuly 3rd 2012.

Peoples opinions expressed here and throughout the media would suggest you witnessed what was expected before hand and not what happened.. unlucky, it was a mess off wellwishing, hugging and feeling pleased to be there and love the show. Literally no arrests and living in the prestwich area I know it all passed through without an issue, except ...lets hope they find the missing kid (Helicopters etc were around the park last night looking).

Nina GerstenbergerJuly 3rd 2012.

I went on the Friday. It was by far the best concert of my life- and I've been to many great gigs over the years. In my blog, I've tried to put in words how fantastic this concert was and how much it meant to me to finally have seen The Stone Roses live. ninaantonia.blogspot.co.uk/…/ve-waited-for.html…

1 Response: Reply To This...
MaggieJuly 3rd 2012.

shameless self promotion..........

AnonymousJuly 3rd 2012.

Pure Class - made me feel like I was 17 again - Epic.

AnonymousJuly 3rd 2012.

EDITORIALLY DELETED because there were too many expletives and the grammar was terrible

mrsplimJuly 3rd 2012.

The band were great, the organisation of the event was rubbish!

Natalie MortonJuly 3rd 2012.

Crap-pissed up scroats throwing wee and weeing wherever they stood,pushing in, ridiculous bar queues. Sound was woeful, band were not tight, Brown was even more out of tune than usual. Biggest let down ever. The only way you could have thought they sounded good was if you were smashed off your face or you are tone deaf.

LuggyJuly 3rd 2012.

I last saw the roses over 23 years ago at the
Hacienda, did my best to enjoy friday with perhaps
65.000 other people. Unfortunately 5000 plus
dickheads were doing their best to ruin it.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 6th 2012.

Come on though Luggy, you didn't really expect a crowd of highbrow intellectuals and thinkers did you? There? And to see Them?

Manc GuyJuly 3rd 2012.

I went on Saturday and thought it was brilliant. I had my reservations about them cutting it at a huge open air gig and whether Brown's [much hyped] poor voice could handle it, but I was really impressed, and the sound system and big screen imagery and video was fantastic.

The only down side was the massive amount of scrotes [not just from Manchester] and deggy blokes. The place was full of them. I got there about 5pm and I couldn't believe how many people around me were sh*t faced, falling over and throwing up, including some women. I saw one bloke pi*ssing into his mate's hands as the latter through it into the crowd. I've no idea why the organisers thought it necessary to provide more food stalls than bars. There queues were horrendous and loads of people kept pushing in. The long walk from Middleton Road to concert security was really sad, as it was littered from side to side with carrier bags of empty bottles and tins, broken bottles and food wrappers. I didn't envy the event staff that had to pick that lot up before Sunday's gig. It's such a lovely park too.

I'd say not only did the event bring the worst out in some people, but it's attracted some of the worst kind of people too. Scum The masses have no respect.

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