Whilst standing in Heaton Park, Manchester on Saturday waiting on The Stone Roses to take the stage I had already witnessed the usual goings on that go hand in hand with a huge open air music event. There were long queues for the toilets, overpriced food stalls, idiots throwing plastic bottles filled with piss and many punters drunk and stoned.
As the band came on and launched in to I Wanna Be Adored, everyone around us sang along while others shouted at those who thought it a good idea to get on peoples shoulders and obscure the view for the paying masses. The second song up was Mersey Paradise with somewhat fewer people knowing the lyrics and at some occasions, a sense of the melody. The big singalong was back though when Sally Cinnamon was aired but after that a strange thing began to happen, I started to ignore my surroundings and concentrate on the band themselves and the music they were playing. It was quite simply brilliant. There were of course a few things that the show could could have done without such as John Squire’s superfluous guitar jam at the end of Fools Gold or the addition of Something’s Burning to the live set which didn’t quite work in a field with 80,000 people in it.
Regardless, the musicianship was outstanding and Ian Brown’s vocals better than ever before. As a unit, they exceeded all expectations. This didn’t sound like a band reforming for money, it was a band with something to prove and right the wrongs of previous years. I’ve never been at a show with so many people dancing with a smile on their face, it was mass euphoria. If I was to pinpoint one song in particular for special praise there would be plenty to choose from but the rendition of Don’t Stop was spellbinding, especially as is the case on the album, it followed on from the crowd singalong of Waterfall. It’s also worth repeating, even though we all know it to be the case, that Reni is the greatest drummer of his generation and for me the best ever. There will never be another who can attain such groove on a kit as him, I’d pay just to watch him drum alone.
I got seriously in to music at the age of 13 because of The Stone Roses and although I saw them in 1995, it’s taken until now to see the original line up play together. It was genuinely worth the wait, somewhat magical.