Stone Roses : Fuji Rock festival : live review

Stone Roses onstage

Stone Roses onstage

The Stone Roses
Fuji Rock Festival
27th July 2012
live review

After 20 odd dates off their global reunion tour, there are no longer any prizes for guessing the Stone Roses’ set list. But with this knowledge comes heightened anticipation, and as the strains of The Supremes’ ”˜Stoned Love’ finally stream through the PA, the excitement at knowing that the opening bassline of ”˜I Wanna Be Adored’ is only a minute away nears fever pitch.

It’s a warm summer’s evening in the mountains of Naeba, a couple of hours from Tokyo, and the first night of Fuji Rock is about to go off. The band stride on to a massive roar, and we’re away, John Squire’s surging guitar lines cutting impatiently across that familiar skulking bassline. The mix is great and the song builds steadily to its climax with the help of thousands and thousands of voices shouting along.

Ian Brown, whose love for this country has been well-documented, greets the crowd with a couple of choice words of Japanese, but otherwise, banter with the crowd is kept to a minimum apart from the occasional ”˜Nice one!’.

The band tears through the now-familiar setlist, drawing tracks from both albums as well as B-sides. There are numerous sublime moments – the opening salvo of ”˜…Adored’, the glorious combination of ”˜Waterfall’ and ”˜Don’t Stop’, the ecstatic crescendo of ”˜This Is The One’, the euphoria of ”˜I Am The Resurrection’, and a monstrous 10 minute version of ”˜Fools Gold’. “Epic!” shouts a friend standing next to me, before posting the exact same sentiment on Facebook. As the song builds from its trippy bassline, Squire fills the valley with sound, wrestling increasingly dense layers of noise from his guitar. Brown stalks the stage, ever-present sleigh bells in hand, lifting them high in the air and tilting back his head to face the heavens in apparent ecstasy as Squire’s guitar work reaches its climax.

Of course, the inadequacies of Brown’s singing voice are exposed on occasion, particularly during the opening notes of ”˜Where Angels Play.’ But who cares? That’s always been the case, and what Brown sometimes lacks in pitch, he more than makes up for in swagger.

The band look like they’re having a great time, Reni sporting his traditional bucket hat, Mani huffing and puffing behind an enormous bass, Squire cutting shapes as cool as the riffs he coaxes from his guitar, and Brown stalking the stage like he owns the joint.

The audience response might be more muted than at some of the European shows – not least because festival crowds here are so much better behaved – but the level of appreciation appears to be no less. The instant Beady Eye’s set finishes, fans stream towards the stage to secure their spots for the Roses despite the 45 minutes wait before the band appears. There’s also quite the crowd of artists and backstage liggers at the mixing desk, with Liam Gallagher particularly mad for it. The audience sings, dances, and roars its appreciation, and as the closing strains of ”˜I Am The Resurrection’ finish, and the band take their bows and exit to Bob Marley’s ”˜Redemption Song’, the audience remains clapping and cheering for some time, in the vain hope that there might be more, just this once…

Full set list:
I Wanna Be Adored
Mersey Paradise
(Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister
Sally Cinnamon
Ten Storey Love Song
Where Angels Play
Shoot You Down
Fools Gold
Something’s Burning
Don’t Stop
Love Spreads
Made Of Stone
This Is The One
She Bangs The Drums
I Am The Resurrection


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