Stone Roses live in Barcelona
Stone Roses live in Barcelona

 

Stone Roses live in Barcelona
Stone Roses live in Barcelona

The Stone Roses

Heineken Music Hall

Amsterdam:

Live Review

From the metro station at Amsterdam Central to the bars outside the Heineken Music Hall, the swarm of (mostly British) Stone Roses fans were notable by their feeling of calm trepidation and anticipation ahead of tonight’s performance and a sentiment of genuine excitement over what this band will be like ”“ a sense of nervous excitement unique to the reformation of the Stone Roses, for their fourth post-reformation performance. The strains of the Sex Pistols, Toots and the Maytals and finally the Supremes (”˜Stoned Love’ being peculiarly fitting to this Amsterdam audience) heralded the band’s arrival onto the stage. All beaming faces, before a note was played Brown excitably requested for the lights to be turned onto the audience for the first song. The rumbling bass tones of ”˜I Wanna Be Adored’ evoke cheers and applause from the audience but chanting along is minimal ”“ everything on the stage is exposed tonight. The jamming at the end of ”˜Adored’ sets the tone for much of the gig, a lesson in quality and not self indulgence and a stark reminder of why the Squire, Reni and Mani combination needed to be reunited; when Ian Brown accidentally repeats the first verse of second song ”˜Sally Cinnamon’ the band don’t miss a beat or bat an eyelid. Brown’s vocal gaffe doesn’t go uncriticised by some portions of the crowd, leading him to retort “What’s with the booing, could you do any better?” ”“ the first indication that all may not be well within the Roses camp.


By ”˜Sugar Spun Sister’, Ian’s vocals have really started to deliver and it’s from here that tonight’s performance really hits its stride. The Byrds-tinged bubblegum of ”˜Where Angels Play’ slips seamlessly into the hypnotic groove of ”˜Shoot You Down’, laying the foundations for the sonic delight of a ten minute ”˜Fools Gold’. The constant dancing in the two balconies either side of the stage was hauntingly reminiscent of footage from the legendary Blackpool Empress Ballroom gig, though it came as some surprise to see a lot of empty seats in the upper tier of the venue. Only two tracks from ”˜The Second Coming’ feature in tonight’s set list, a stripped down and folky ”˜Tightrope’ (naysayers about Ian Brown’s vocal abilities should look only to his and Reni’s harmonising during ”˜Tightrope’) and ”˜Love Spreads’ ”“ with a little less Led Zep and a little more space to breathe, the highlight of the night and also the unexpected final song.


By the time that the band had left the stage (peacefully, might one add), they had turned the mood of the audience from trepidation to elation and triumphed over an uneasy start. The guitar feedback from ”˜Love Spreads’ petered out, the minutes went by and the energy in the room in anticipation for the expected and planned encore of ”˜I Am the Resurrection’ had reached fever pitch. It became slowly apparent that something wasn’t right, and the actions of the roadies, venue staff and lighting in the room completely contradicted one another as confusion was rife over where the concert would go next. After a long five minutes had passed and Ian Brown had walked onstage, everyone had expected that the Roses had simply been keeping the audience waiting and building up the atmosphere that perhaps wasn’t there before they took to the stage. Even when Brown ”“ looking as confused and disappointed as the audience ”“ announced “The drummer’s gone home”, there was a perception that this was tongue in cheek and some kind of jocular pantomime.


Ian Brown: ”˜The drummer’s gone home, I’m not kidding you, the drummer’s gone home. So there you go. I’m not kidding you, the drummer’s gone home. Sorry about that. Get all your aggro out on me, get it all out, come on, get it all out, what can I say? The drummer’s a cunt”


The house lights shone and Bob Marley’s ”˜Redemption Song’ came over the PA, drowning out the cacophony of boos from an audience still insistent on not leaving the venue.


For the Stone Roses, the Amsterdam gig may well have been where business as usual really kicked in. With the passing of the hysteria of the Warrington gig and the first eagerly anticipated full sets at Barcelona, it felt from both audience and band that the tour really begun here. Whilst incredibly responsive and into the music, the Amsterdam audience was uniquely mellow and potentially scrutinising; something which could often be more intimidating than walking onto tens of thousands of vocal and ecstatic Roses fans at Heaton Park. Worthy of note is that for all that the press may belittle the bond between the band, the displays of affection and unity throughout the night seemed anything but contrived ”“ making the early culmination of the proceedings all the more confusing. Ian and Mani posed and joked together, whilst Reni and John Squire joyously shout the words to ”˜Made of Stone’ back at one another. The Stone Roses is about positivity ”“ the magic ingredient left absent from the second record ”“ and the euphoria and celebration of the band when at their best tonight came from the positivity. It was finishing the gig without this positivity which left the Amsterdam crowd so disappointed and so confused. Alas, this is a Stone Roses concert and not that of a ready-made-Muse theatre event. Some see rock’n’roll as being defined by this sort of chaos, others think that rock’n’roll is turning up and blowing the crowd away. Indeed, the Stone Roses did both in turns, and as the tour goes on it seems that ”˜Reni-gate’ is less than the end of the road and more just another bump.

 

8 COMMENTS

  1. Good review.
    They did play three songs from S.C album though (Ten Storey Love song) and the boos were when Ian Brown annouced Mersey paradise and got a few boos from a few at the front.
    I thought he said ‘ what, do you live somewhere better?’

  2. Fair and thorough review me thinks. I was there (and also in BCN on the Saturday) and can safely say the Amsterdam crowd was somewhat muted. Having lived there for five years I can safely say crowds there usually are a bit flat sometimes. Essentially the roses are believed to be part of the same group of bands as Oasis and the rest of Britpop and not the era defining legends that the British people know them for. They were a lot of people slagging Brown’s vocal but they just don’t get it, and for me he sounded fine. The bass and drums were the problem. Clashing, and sounding just awful at times in the first half of the gig. Squire was unbelievably good, even better than in Barca in my opinion. And as the review above says, Love Spreads was the highlight and Fools Gold.

    The empty seats at the back is partly cos it wasn’t sold out but they are unreserved seats so anyone can sit or stand. I’ve seen sold out gigs there where some seats were empty cos people choose to stand on floor area. Still 4500 out of 5000 capacity though…but half of them were Brits, a load of germans, and a few Belgians too.. Holland too worried about the football to come out!

  3. Yeah man great review! It was a strange crowd but that made it better for the big roses fans! I walked right to the front 3 songs from the end!
    Great gig!
    We bumbed into ian the next day and he said ”we’re better now than we were then”
    Usually with bands making a come back this is not the case!
    But with the roses I think it is!

    Are u the guy from Preston, I had a beer with outside a cafe/bar?
    You were with your friends from holand and my g/f was getting her hair done! Ha :-)
    Hope you all enjoyed the gig
    Nice one
    Andy
    @dead_seas

  4. Yeah man great review! It was a strange crowd but that made it better for the big roses fans! I walked right to the front 3 songs from the end!
    Great gig!
    We bumbed into ian the next day and he said ”we’re better now than we were then”
    Usually with bands making a come back this is not the case!
    But with the roses I think it is!

    Are u the guy from Preston, I had a beer with outside a cafe/bar?
    You were with your friends from holand and my g/f was getting her hair done! KHa :-)
    Hope you all enjoyed the gig
    Nice one
    Andy
    @dead_seas

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