The Stone Roses performing live in Manchester is quintessentially Mancunian. The rest of the world tends to think of Oasis or Hipster dream band The Smiths when it comes to Manchester and music. In our learned opinion, The Stone Roses and Joy Division are the finest bands to emerge from the music scene here, which hasn’t produced any noteworthy acts in recent years.
It’s just as well The Stone Roses reformed in late 2011, then! But many of you may be confused by the kerfuffle surrounding what is essentially a band with cult status selling out Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium for four nights in June of 2016, accommodating some 300,000+ ecstatic fans. What the bloody hell?!
The Stone Roses at the Etihad Stadium
The Stone Roses consists of (see the band in its full pomp in 1990 above) lead singer Ian Brown, newly bearded guitarist John Squire, genius drummer Reni, and the garrulous bassist Mani. The band rose to prominence in the late 1980s with a string of brilliant singles such as Elephant Stone and Sally Cinnamon, which was topped off by the band’s eponymous debut album (The Stone Roses) – this has gone on to claim Best Album Ever awards and is widely regarded as one of the best albums of all time.
The band rose to prominence in the late 1980s with a string of brilliant singles such as Elephant Stone and Sally Cinnamon, which was topped off by the band’s eponymous debut album (The Stone Roses) – this has gone on to claim Best Album Ever awards and is widely regarded as one of the best albums in history.
Consequently, the band has a passionate fan base which is ready to lose its ship. The group hasn’t played in Manchester since 2012, so it’s been a manic week as drunk, delighted, and partying fans took to Manchester’s Etihad Stadium (home to Manchester City) for an uproarious sing-along of the band’s classics, plus the arrival of new singles All For One and Beautiful Thing.
Squire & Reni
Whilst singer Brown can be hit and miss (not helped by a lifelong smoking habit, but his natural charisma makes up for it), musically the band is almost unmatchable, principally due to guitarist Squire (now sporting a big beard) and drummer Reni.
It’s taken over 25 years, but Squire seems to be now finally gaining widespread media recognition for his talent. As a creative force (singer, songwriter, guitarist, and artist), he’s quite staggering and his live performances have been universally acclaimed by fans and the press.
Drummer Reni is even better. Boasting a natural genius which makes the vast majority of other drummers look inept, he makes a 130 minute plus set, at 52 years of age, involving some of the most physically demanding and impossibly complex drumming imaginable, look effortless.
It’s so effortless for him he’s able to provide constant backing harmonies throughout the band’s songs, which only a handful of other drummers (most notably Levon Helm) have been able to achieve. Simply because it’s unbelievably difficult.
This musicianship is backed up by dozens of songs which are arguably at a genius level: Waterfall, Made of Stone, Shoot You Down (see above), I Am The Resurrection, Bye Bye Badman, Elephant Stone, She Bangs the Drums, Love Spreads, This Is The One, I Wanna Be Adored, Mersey Paradise, Sugar Spun Sister, Where Angles Play, Sally Cinnamon – this is just a small selection.
The band’s political and anti-Thatcher sentiments were missed by much of the press in the late ’80s and, to this day, the anti-monarchy stance is also glossed over by the UK’s media. They’re still there, however, Marxist principles and all missed by an otherwise adoring audience who want to bang the drums.
Thusly, the band took to the stage for four nights in Manchester. Since The Stone Roses reformed, its gigs have been a celebration of life more than anything. At a politically charged and tense time in the UK, millions of people have been able to cut loose and enjoy themselves a bit. This is the importance and power of culture.
For over two hours, The Stone Roses performed its hits with a youthful verve and genuine passion. The band is on it and, whilst critics are divided on its new material, you can’t argue with performances of songs as good as that.
Ey Up! Visit Manchester, Why Not?
If you’d like to know more about Manchester and its music scene, you can watch the 2001 film 24 Hour Party People. This was a historically inaccurate film in that it entirely glossed over The Stone Roses’ input into the Manchester music scene, but it does provide interesting insights into Joy Division and drugs fuelled The Happy Mondays.
Visit as well, why not!? People who visit England tend to go to London because, you know, it’s the capital and all that. Whilst London can be great fun to visit, it’s not representative of what the UK is like. At all. Head to cities such as Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester, and Nottingham for a much more English way of things.
Indeed, come to Manchester. We’ll show you around (at a cost – say £100)! You can dine on Fish & Chips for three meals a day, be insulted by Liam Gallagher, and indulge in a couple of football riots. To top off a spectacular holiday, you can get drunk, have a fight with a local, and throw up and pass out in the city centre’s Piccadilly Gardens. You really can’t buy memories like that.