Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Review & Set List: The Stone Roses @ Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England

by Steven Hammond,

Sixty thousand adoring fans pack the Etihad Stadium to see the iconic Mancunian band The Stone Roses. Since their jubilant and triumphant reunion back in 2012, typically we have heard very little from The Roses; bar two new tracks.

For the younger generation this is likely to be the first time they have had the chance to witness their heroes live. For me, I have been fortunate enough to see them three times already. Yet I still find myself as excited as the first time back at Heaton Park.

The atmosphere is electric. I can feel the anticipation from every fan as the time approaches nine o'clock. Inevitably, they open with I Wanna Be Adored. Mani's opening bass riff is magical and sets the tone for the next two hours.

Frontman Ian Brown is without question one of the all time greats, with his innate Mancunian swagger and a stage presence which is incomparable to any of his counterparts. He has however had many critics over the years regarding his vocal prowess, and rightly so. Simply put, if you attend a Roses gig to hear every note sung in tune, you'll be left disappointed. But in a strange way that's part of the whole experience. That said, tonight is the most on point I have ever heard him sound.

The set is as close to flawless as you can ask for. The only real notable absentees are Ten Storey Love Song which up until now has been a regular, and perhaps more disappointingly, the new seven minute epic psychedelic track Beautiful Thing. But with more new material imminent, it's left us all with something to look forward too.

Their eponymous debut album, considered one of the greatest British albums ever written is played in its entirety. Two new additions to the set Bye Bye Badman and (Song for My) Sugar Spun Sister, feature in the first half an hour and are greatly received. There is also room for some of their best work which failed to make either album. Songs such as Mersey Paradise and the early classic single Sally Cinnamon. 'Sent to me from heaven' Ian Brown sings. Yes, 60,000 fans are in heaven.

Musically as a band, they are the tightest I have ever seen live. Reni's effortless drum loops mixed with the groove of Mani's superb bass playing is something of beauty. Squire is a guitar genius and does not miss a note all night. Similarly, he does not utter a word all night. But if you can make you're guitar talk, you needn't bother. But I get the feeling all eyes are on Brown as he swaggers round the stage as if he is walking down the streets of Manchester, shaking his maracas above his head.

After a fifteen minute rendition of Fools Gold where Squire's Les Paul is now essentially rapping, the final half hour is filled with classics.

Now close to the front I get a real feel for the crowd. Made of Stone, She Bangs the Drums and This is the One are perhaps the highlights of the evening. Ian Brown has no need for a microphone here.

For a band with just two studio albums in their back catalogue and with five years in between them, their legacy and following is phenomenal. An incredible night obviously concludes with 'I am the Resurrection' and it's clear every fan has just witnessed something special. All we await now is some more Roses material.

Back in 1989 Brown famously sang 'Kiss me where the sun don't shine, the past was yours but the futures mine'. Twenty seven years on, and I think he may well still be right.

The set list:

  • I Wanna Be Adored (from The Stone Roses, 1989)
  • Elephant Stone (single, 1988)
  • Sally Cinnamon (single, 1987)
  • Mersey Paradise (from The Complete Stone Roses, 1995)
  • (Song for My) Sugar Spun Sister (from The Stone Roses, 1989)
  • Bye Bye Badman (from The Stone Roses, 1989)
  • Where Angels Play (from The Complete Stone Roses, 1995)
  • Shoot You Down (from The Stone Roses, 1989)
  • Begging You (from Second Coming, 1994)
  • Waterfall (from The Stone Roses, 1989)
  • Don’t Stop (from The Stone Roses, 1989)
  • Elizabeth My Dear (from The Stone Roses, 1989)
  • Fools Gold (single, 1989)
  • All for One (single, 2016)
  • Love Spreads (from Second Coming, 1994)
  • Made of Stone (from The Stone Roses, 1989)
  • She Bangs the Drums (from The Stone Roses, 1989)
  • Breaking into Heaven (from Second Coming, 1994)
  • This Is the One (from The Stone Roses, 1989)
  • I Am the Resurrection (from The Stone Roses, 1989)