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Gig review: The Stone Roses, Heaton Park, 30/06/12
John Squire and Ian Brown on stage
As the last notes of I Am The Resurrection ebbed away, the Stone Roses stood together, arms aloft, drinking in the adulation of 77,000 soggy but satiated fans in Heaton Park. "We're f***in back", roared bassist Mani before leaving the stage with his bandmates.
Not that it needed saying. The previous hour-and-three-quarters had already underlined why the Roses were and (whisper it) could again become the most important band of my lifetime.
Tonight was a spectacle beyond the boundaries of a normal gig. The depth of love for this band, for these songs, more than two decades after they were first released on an unsuspecting British public, is something to behold.
When a crowd sings en masse, not just every lyric, but the majority of your guitar riffs and basslines too, you're dealing with something truly special.
It started with the rumbling bass and crystalline guitar of I Wanna Be Adored, on through the adrenaline rush of Mersey Paradise and (Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister until the euphoria was blissfully soothed by Shoot You Down and Where Angels Play.
With John Squire looking every inch the guitar hero and Ian Brown's oft-maligned vocals pretty much on the mark, you'd be (partially) forgiven for overlooking the fact that the glue that truly binds the Roses is provided by Reni.
The bucket-hatted drummer's vocals (he provides way, way more than just backing vocals) give the songs a double-tracked sound, making up for Brown's limitations on the mic. And his fluid beats and loose-limbed shuffles give the Roses their signature groove.
Never better was this illustrated than on a 12-minute extended-to-breaking-point Fool's Gold where Reni's beats laid the funky foundation for Squire to coax, cajole and crush epic sounds (including a snatch of the riff from the Beatles' Day Tripper) from his guitar.
Only on a decidedly clunky Bye Bye Badman and slightly scattershot Don't Stop did the Roses fall short of attaining their effortless groove. But those minor disappointments were soon forgotten as Waterfall and Made of Stone united the enormous crowd in rapture.
The band only offered up two songs from Second Coming, but both were worth waiting for. Ten Storey Love Song and Love Spreads filled the field, the former with its chiming guitar swoon and the latter with its dirty Zeppelin riffing. Brown even ad-libbed a rap (which I'm sure started with lines from Eric B & Rakim's Paid in Full) over the outro of Love Spreads as the set built to a climax.
The perfect pop of She Bangs The Drums, the soft but severe Elizabeth My Dear and the final salvo of (I Am The) Resurrection ended things in superb, spectacular, supreme style.
There was no encore. There was no need. The statement had already been made.
- Click on the thumbnails below for pictures from Friday night's first reunion show...
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