THE STONE ROSES have completed their four shows at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.
Perhaps United’s Old Trafford would have been a more suited venue considering Brown and Mani are fans of The Red Devils…nonetheless, every date ‘sold out’ despite seeing empty seats around the ground.
The date I got a ticket to was the final performance – Sunday 19th June.
Having had so much hype leading up to the event, I was nervous, anxious and of course excited at the prospect of finally seeing one of Manchester’s greatest in their own backyard.
From the moment we entered Leeds train station heading towards Manchester there was a buzz in the air. Cans of Dark Fruits, bucket hats, 90’s sportswear were all present on the short journey to Piccadilly.
Once we were there, we were greeted by a combination of those going on the Sunday and those leaving from the Saturday. Wetherspoons Piccadilly was rammed from opening until close – no better way to prepare for one of the biggest gigs of the year.
Then, in the most Manchester way possible – the heavens opened. Wet right through before we were even at Etihad. Missing homegrown-grime-artist Bugzy Malone for them extra couple of pints may come back to haunt me in the future, but at the time it was a financial plan – 3 Wetherspoons pints for the price of 1 Etihad pint.
However, Etihad was entered by us in time for The Courteeners. Another Manchester act that, in my opinion, stole the show. Passion and pride were displayed by Fray and co. during their very short slot. It was enough, though.
It was like any other Courteeners gig. Opened with Notion, closed with Not Nineteen Forever and What Took You So Long? Somewhere in between those were the likes of Small Bones, How Good It Was and Lose Control.
Flares smuggled through security – which was very easy to do; no one in my queue was searched thoroughly unless they had a bag on their person – were lit throughout. It was still daytime, but the atmosphere was still electrified.
Next up were Public Enemy. AKA my chance to go for beers and a toilet break. Do not get me wrong, the tracks were performed brilliantly and I am glad I have seen them live, but they just were not my cup of tea.
That was until Harder Than You Think closed their set. The soundtrack to London’s 2012 Paralympic went down a treat before a dedication to Jo Cox was made and a speech about the hatred towards racism was belted out.
As soon as Public Enemy left the stage, everything sunk in. I was about to see The Stone Roses. Etihad Stadium was suddenly full. The sun was slowly setting.
The Stone Roses entered the stage just after 9pm. Opening with the usual I Wanna Be Adored, it started a night of memories, reliving the 80’s and an all round good time.
Classics from their two studio albums were performed to 60,000 adoring fans. These included the likes of Made Of Stone, Elizabeth My Dear and Waterfall.
Fan favourite Sally Cinnamon was a personal highlight alongside seeing Ian Brown cutting about in a pink Adidas tracksuit top shaking his tambourines. Looking old facially, he definitely tried his best to be up for the gig.
Of course, the instrumentals throughout Fools Gold and Begging You were nailed. Did I expect anything less? Of course not.
Looking through comments made on social media and having watched their live sets in the past, it was obvious that Ian Brown’s vocals aren’t the strongest. A gig by The Stone Roses isn’t about vocals, though.
They are about Squire’s mesmerising guitar, Mani’s signature basslines and wondering if Reni’s bucket hat will make an appearance – it did.
Unlike previous comeback gigs by the band, this set of gigs had new music. All For One was the only one played live, but it sounded superb. This track has given the-four-piece’s sound a new lease of life.
As the evening went on, the sky got darker, the fans got more up for it and all of the best tracks were being played one after another.
My personal favourite track by The Stone Roses was the penultimate one – This Is The One. It was incredible to see and hear it live. What an anthem. What an atmosphere. What a night.
But amongst the overwhelming happiness, there was the knowledge that there was only one song left. I Am The Resurrection. Belted out for the whole seven minutes, both the band and the fans meant business.
It was the closing night. The band knew this was their chance to prove they still had it – of course they did. 60,000 fans screaming “I AM THE RESURRECTION AND I AM THE LIFE” back at the stage was special. Front to back. Side to side. Everyone was united for seven minutes.
Then it was over. Well, nearly. The band made their bowing exit before a firework display joined their latest single Beautiful Thing being played over the tannoy. A singalong on the way out displayed excellently the community that had been sharing the love ever since the announcement of gigs back in November.
Sure, the vocals weren’t great. Standing Here wasn’t played. There were tracks I wasn’t really into. But it was brilliant. The days leading up to it. The chants from Wetherspoons to Etihad. Being soaked by the Manchester rain. Everything.
For one day, The Stone Roses were everything.