They came, they sang, they conquered. And those of us who grew up in 90s Manchester remembered why The Stone Roses – Ian Brown, John Squire, Mani and Reni – were the defining band of our generation.
I was one of the lucky 225,000 people to get a ticket before they sold out in just 68 minutes earlier this year, and, finally, on Saturday I joined 75,000 other fans at Manchester’s Heaton park to see The Roses play the second date of their reunion weekend.
Yes, it rained. Yes, the queue for the bar was ludicrous. And yes, the combined age of the band is 195 and the average age of fans about 40, but nothing was going to stop us all singing our hearts out to the band’s opener I Wanna Be Adored like it was 1989. In fact, everyone belted it out so loudly, I couldn’t hear singer Ian Brown at all. His notoriously dodgy singing did seem a little painful in the first half of the gig, but as the opening bars of Fools Gold sounded, the atmosphere built and he found his voice. After that, he was pretty much spot on for huge songs such as This Is The One, Love Spreads and Waterfall (in which he did a rather hilarious rap in a Mancunian accent stronger than even Liam Gallagher’s that went: Stone Roses in the dark, Stone Roses in Heaton Park… Hmm, don’t think Jay-Z will be quaking in his boots!)
But the star of the show was guitarist John Squire, who was unbelievable! No one else can keep 75,000 people dancing for a full 15 minutes with just a guitar. Seriously, YouTube the band and you’ll understand.
The gig ended fittingly with the anthemic I Am The Resurrection, a group hug for the band (who until last year hadn’t even spoken for 15 years) and some amazing fireworks. Then Ian Brown’s cry of: ‘We’re f***ing back’. And it felt like the whole of Manchester united in one cheer.