Stone Roses : Heaton Park Saturday : live review
Manchester Heaton Park
June 30th 2012
Everyone here seems to be from Glasgow toon.
As we walk up to the gig through the heavy showers there is an endless stream of Glaswegians coming up for chat. The Stone Roses meant so much up there, the city that was famous for its fierce love of bands, the city where people would record their live albums because the audience was louder and wilder than anywhere else, the city that hosted classic gigs in the sixties that are carved into rock n roll legend and the city that fronted classic gigs in the punk days from bands like the Clash and the Stranglers that are part of the punk legend with an avalanche of adrenalin, brawls with bouncers and arrests all becoming part and parcel of the myth”Â¦and there was also the Stone Roses Glasgow Green show, the famous last live gig with Reni from the first time round.
That was the night in the big top where sweat rained from the roof and the band sounded at the peak of their powers, the world was at their feet and everyone wondered what could possibly go wrong”Â¦
I remember that night clearly, there was a Sex Pistols power added to the Roses that night and the crowd was totally wild. It was the greatest Stone Roses gig for years until Lyon last week.
The first night at Heaton Park was still a big one that is well up there but was marred by slight sound problems that prevented it getting to number one. The band played great but Lyon had been sublime and in my review yesterday I wondered if the big arena was not the right space for the band’s subtleties to breathe.
Tonight proved how wrong I was. The sound was spot on. Perfect. Everything was in place and the band were slinky and loose in a way that only the best musicians dare, the rhythm section was purring and John Squire was even more audacious on guitar and Ian’s vocals were the best we have heard them- completely contradicting the reviews of the gig.
They played the same set as the night before but there were further added jams to the songs, I Wanna Be Adored had a loose-limbed outro with some blues licks for Squire as the famous bass line rumbles to a halt. The Fools Gold outro changes every night- ever changing, ever morphing into new spaces and shapes. Don’t Stop is now the highlight of the set, the way it feels like its going backwards is a truly psychedelic moment, Ian Brown sings his backwards part with, what I’m guessing, is an added reverse reverb that really trips the song out that goes beyond drugs and is a reminder of the band’s windowpane period.
Made Of Stone is massive and anthemic and the second half of the set surfs along on with its uppercut anthems that come thick and fast. Another highlight is This Is The One- one of their oldest songs that captures the euphoria of being alive and walking tall in the rain and murk of a Mancunian summer evening like tonight”Â¦when they came up with that one in 1985 they must have known they were onto something.
These songs maybe decades old but they somehow work today, the Independent called the band conservative but they are anything but, there is still plenty of adventure left in these old songs, plenty of scope to move them around and change them which they do live in front of your eyes.
They also morph from one style to another from the funky shakedown of Fools Gold to the crystalline pop of Sally Cinnamon to the endless toying with the power chord ending of I Am the Resurrection- the Roses shape shift from one style to another with ease. As the Mancunian awkward band the Fall all once sang, the experimental is now conventional and music is so blurred now that it’s hard to tell what is mainstream and what is on the edge, making conservative an inaccurate observation.
If Friday was a band getting into gear Saturday was the one, that extra twist that took the band to a new level. The question is where do you go from here? Can you get any bigger or do you pull back and get the new album ready? After these shows will it be a year or so before we hear from the Stone Roses again? The comeback has been audaciously successful; phase 2 could be the real test, the real third coming when they finish and release the new album.