For music lovers, one of the most painful things to accept is if your favourite band has broken up, without you being able to ever see them perform live. This was the reality for fans of The Stone Roses, including myself, until they announced that they would be reconnecting for a couple of tour dates at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester for one last time.
The Stone Roses graced their hometown stadium from June 15 to 19, supported by The Coral, Buzzcocks and Public Enemy, who all originated from Manchester. The tickets, when released, sold out almost immediately, as old, loyal fans jumped at the opportunity to relive past concert experiences and younger, inexperienced fans desired the unexpected chance to view a band they never thought they would ever see live.
Stadium concerts are always intense, hundreds of people piling onto a pitch, cramming to reach the front of the stage, whereas the stands fill up all the way to the top with seated attendees. There was no doubting that the turnout was immense, it appeared as though every ticket holder was attending and everyone was showing their admiration and fandom by wearing “I Am The Resurrection” clad t-shirts, lemon halves and fish bucket hats.
The stage was overwhelming with great TVs displaying the live footage of the performances for those who were less able to see and the speakers and sound quality was perfectly monitored. The buzz in the crowd was noticeable as people were dancing and chatting away whilst the supporting acts played in the background, amping themselves up for the moment Ian Brown, John Squire, Mani and Reni walk out on the stage and address the audience. There was excessive Mod haircuts and ape-like dancing whilst holding pints of lager.
Once the supporting acts had finished, it had just started to go dark, and the crowd atmosphere was intoxicating. There was a sense of togetherness, as everyone understood how blessed they were to be sharing this experience, and once the intro riff to “I Wanna Be Adored” rung out through the stadium, fans knew the night was one that would be remembered forever.
It is safe to say that The Stone Roses have retained their musical ability, the songs sounded exactly like the original studio recording, and each band member even looked the same as when they released their first album in 1989. “I Wanna Be Adored” was haunting, with that echo-y and lifting guitar riff ringing out and the lyric “I don’t need to sell my soul / He’s already in me” was sung in chorus by everyone.
It was the perfect opening song, as the musical backing and simplistic lyrics engaged all who were listening. They played other classic songs, such as “Mersey Paradise”, “She Bangs The Drums”, “Fools Gold” and “Shoot You Down”, perfectly with Ian Brown dancing around on stage, Mani grinning ear to ear, Reni smashing out the beat on the drums and John Squire’s long hair and lumberjack beard covering his face but not his guitar abilities.
A highlight of the evening was the performance of “This Is The One”, a track that even by name united everyone; this is the one moment they had all been waiting for and the one opportunity to sing along with The Stone Roses live. The standing concertgoers all raised their arms and pointed their index fingers at the stage in unison and all that mattered in that moment was the music. People were on shoulders holding flares, there was the flash of phones flickering around the stadium and the music was truly incredible.
“Made Of Stone” was also inspiring, “Are you all alone? / Are you made of stone?” were questions asked within the song that could only be answered with a “no” at that point, as no one was alone due to the shared love of the music and no one could be stone-faced when listening to the once separated band play live.
The band were effortlessly talented, all on stage seemed to have a connection and were having the time of their lives looking out on their loyal fans, with no bad blood and all there with the intention to have a good time. The songs were all perfectly rehearsed and in keeping with the successful consistency of their music production. All in all, nobody was left disappointed and the hyped event met its predictions.
The show ended with the remastered version of “I Am The Resurrection”, and everyone was just as surprised and delighted when fireworks were released above the stadium and showered down over the stage, a momentous end to a momentous show.
The Stone Roses truly outdid themselves, they clearly wanted to be remembered by their last performance and anyone who attended cannot say any less about the band’s efforts. The memories of that night will last forever, and whenever a Stone Roses song will be played, the same chills down the spine and hair standing on end will return.
Words by Libby Beacham