The Stone Roses: Leeds, First Direct Arena – live review
With rumours (and we repeat it’s rumours) swirling yet again that these could be their last gigs legendary Manchester band The Stone Roses returned to Leeds for the first time as the the classic 4 piece line up since 1989. Could they rekindle the magic? Matt Mead attended to find out. All pics taken exclusively by Paul Husband Photography.
Having last seen The Stone Roses at Heaton Park in 2012 I was looking forward seeing some more of the magic that brought them back together and that was witnessed on Shane Meadows famed Made Of Stone film.
Having Phil Beckett as the warm up DJ certainly got the crowd in the mood with a mix of Punk, Northern Soul and Reggae including The Clash, Robert Knight & Dave and Ansell Collins and all was set for lift of when Stoned Love echoed all around the arena, whipping the crowd into a frenzy as the band entered the stage.
With Mani thumping the classic bass chord, John Squire’s stone cold riff’s and the mesmerising drums of Reni the classic I Wanna Be Adored had the crowd up and about the place, even in the seated area, which included Ian’s Mum and Dad grooving away.
Going through the now classic set list including Elephant Stone, Sally Cinnamon, Elizabeth My Dear (dedicated to the Queen Witch) and Where Angels Play, with Ian singing the alternative original lyrics (heart shaped tambourine), the crowd lapped up each and every chord, with Ian pleasing the baying crowd with handing out his ‘shakers’. This was certainly a special crowd, and a hot one to boot, which reminded me of the sweat dripping off the ceiling of the tent in Glasgow Green 1990. This might not have been quite on par with that special night but the temperature certainly was.
The band were certainly in a groove tonight, with a softer, mellower feel to some of the songs, especially Fool’s Gold, Love Spreads, All For One and This Is the One (dedicated to ‘The Boss’ Ian’s Dad), ending the set with the anthemic I Am The Resurrection, leaving the sweatbox baying and crying for more.
Come the end of the gig one thing that was missing, and also from their recent Belfast and Wembley gigs, but was evident at the Heaton Park gig was the full band hugs at the end of the gig. There also seemed to be a distinct lack of contact between Ian and Reni throughout the gig. Where was once the angelic pair singing eye to eye now it was Ian signing all the gig with his back to the beatmaster. So to see Ian and Reni not joining in with the hugs at the end suggests, is this the end? Is there to be no 3rd album?
What The World Is Waiting For might have to wait just that little bit longer, but one thing is for certain is The Stone Roses still have it and are still good lookin’!
Review by Matt Mead. More writing by Matt can be found at his Louder Than War author archive.