I honestly never thought it would never happen. Ian Brown, John Squire, Reni & Mani stepped on stage once again to re-form iconic Manchester band ‘The Stone Roses’, alongside a triumphant roar from 75,000 people, in a place of the world they hadn’t played since the mid-90’s. This would undoubtedly unfold to be the UK concert of the year, after months of building anticipation, it was now and, this is the one.
From every corner of Heaton Park, the scene was set with the smell of marijuana and middle aged men jumping up and down with the sight of their first teenage crush. The Stone Roses were back and delayed no time before bass expert Mani pioneered opener ‘I Wanna Be Adored’.
The set consisted of mostly two albums; 1989’s debut self-entitled The Stone Roses album and 1994’s effort; Second Coming occasionally straying away for ‘Where Angels Play’ & ‘Sally Cinnamon’.
Almost 20 years on since their last record release, the fans had obviously revised each tune thoroughly. ‘Bye-Bye Badman’ and ‘Shoot You Down’ had a mountainous backing vocal from the audience, sometimes drowning out Ian Browns wayward vocals. Ian for me, is iconic, and has been heavily criticised in the past for his vocal performances, but overall gave a more than satisfying performance, straying off notably for short anti-monarch track ‘Elizabeth My Dear’ towards the end. Even after such an amount of time has passed, Ian proclaimed they still had the ‘best looking girls’ as he moved onto flawless fan favourite ‘She Bangs The Drums’ as flares were opened and really enhanced the party atmosphere.
On the whole, one man on stage stood out for me above all else, and it had to be John Squire. His spiralling riffs and chiming melodies proved to sound incredible. If I had to put the expression ‘music to my ears’ into practice, John’s performance would be exemplary. What is it about Manchester bands producing the countries best ever rock guitarists/songwriters?; Johnny Marr, Noel Gallagher and Squire all top the list.
Incase you didn’t know, The Stone Roses are well renown for not doing encores, so burst straight into an anthem that had a greater meaning on a night like tonight; ‘I Am The Resurrection’. Brown started clapping synchronized with Reni’s drumbeat with every spectator obliging as far as the eye could see. Eight minutes of rock combined with psychedelia later, sadly, it was over. Brown said they had still got ‘it’ and Mani agreed that it was ‘not bad for a bunch of old c***s’! as each member of the band exchanged hugs and thanked the Manchester congregation. The night’s sky was met with a divine fireworks display to finish off a standout night at Heaton Park.
A legacy such as theirs would always be a gamble to reunite, but after leaving me as fulfilled as this on such an emotional night, all that’s left to say is: Thank you.
Photography by Ian Stannard
About Ciaran McDermott
I'm into rock, indie, punk, alternative and all things britpop including: Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, Twin Atlantic, The Stone Roses, The Strokes, The Smiths, Panic! At the Disco, The Gaslight Anthem, Nirvana, Muse, The Clash, Pulp, Springsteen, Blur, The Fray and more.