Stone Roses :
Warrington Parr Hall :
May 24th 2012
“If you’d have told me this morning I’d be seeing The Stone Roses for free tonight at the Parr Hall I’d have told you to f*ck off!”Â snorts one Stones Roses ticket holder”Â¦ and so says the rest of Warrington.
For me, it started off as a whispered corridor conversation ”â a rumour via a workmate and a friend of a friend that The Stone Roses were doing a free gig at Warrington’s premier live venue that night – and in terms of tickets it was first come first served.
I already had a ticket to see them at T In The Park having missed out on the Heaton Park gigs, but seriously who turns down the chance to see utter genius reformed right on their doorstep for one night only?
Immobilising the husband, I ordered him to put his slippers on and get across the road to the Parr Hall where a group of music fans were already congregating in nervous hopefulness. Amongst we Warringtonians who had grown up on a diet of ”ËI Am the Resurrection’ and ”ËWaterfall’ the rumour was already spreading like wildfire -including the all-important information that a piece of memorabilia was essential to secure a ticket.
Luckily the husband is a muso and has a wide library of Roses-related CDs and vinyl to choose from. Clutching the sacred merchandise to his chest he managed to deflect a pack of wolverine Scousers to secure his own ticket. The town’s branch of HMV was rumoured to have been wiped clean of Stones Roses merchandise within the hour.
I immediately bailed on work ”â throwing the entire contents of my purse into a taxi driver’s lap and demanding he put his foot down to the Parr Hall. I arrived – rolling out of the taxi Starsky and Hutch-style – and pegged it to the box office (sliding into the queue where my husband was holding my spot).
From there it was a sweat, sigh and a jump to ”Ëwristband acquisition’ status ”â setting the stage for one of the greatest musical highlights of my life.
Why was I so bothered? Well, when you spend your formative years sat outside Ian Brown’s Lymm home praying for a glimpse of God-like genius, it’s not inconceivable that you’ll snatch the opportunity to see the band in action. For me The Stone Roses are youth, exuberance and joy ”â everything that makes you feel real, Northern and alive.
The fact that they would throw a free gig in my hometown – with donations to a deserving charity – only sealed them in my mind as the ultimate ”Ëone-of us’ band with no airs and graces.
It’s been amazing to see the groundswell of joy and support in Warrington. People were genuinely thrilled to have something to celebrate and be proud of. That the band would choose Ian’s hometown to flex their mothballed musical muscles is genuinely appreciated.
It was a privilege to exchange ”Ëhow I got my ticket’ stories with people from as far afield as London – as well as to comfort one guy with severe sunstroke who had been stood queuing for his ticket since 11am.
Come 9.30pm and against a perfect arch of sky-tossed ale – refracted against the neon hue of the stage lights – the band opened up proceedings with ”ËI Wanna Be Adored’. Do not fear”Â¦ Ian sounds fantastic ”â no auto-tune required (although he did have the ultimate backing track in the form of a full- to-capacity-house).
The on-stage dynamic was a joy ”â heart-warming banter being exchanged between the group with Ian purposefully making physical and verbal contact with his joyfully reciprocating bandmates.
This was a blistering set ”â dipping into their debut as well as the ”ËSecond Coming’ album with gems like ”ËTightrope’ and ”ËLove Spreads’ getting an airing just as much as ”ËWaterfall’ and ”Ë(Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister’.
One woman next to me broke down in tears as her ”Ëwedding song’ ”ËTightrope’ made a welcome appearance on the well-measured setlist ”â whilst Squire’s solo on ”ËWaterfall’ melted the very walls of the claustrophobically-loving entertainment space.
This was a gig for the fans and about the fans ”â a real homecoming for Warrington-born Ian in every sense of the word. The ecstatic audience regurgitated every classic song ”â drunk on their own good fortune to be there.
”ËShe Bangs the Drums’ (described by Ian as “One for the ladies”Â) was a personal highlight ”â transforming the sprung floor into an ecstatic wave machine. Show closer ”ËLove Spreads’ was the perfect question mark to a sentence that has only just begun.
”ËI Am The Resurrection’ was a disappointing omission in an evening that was otherwise blissful perfection, but then again do they really need to confirm their rebirth after a barnstormingly intimate precursor to Heaton Park and T?
From the bottom of my heart thank you to The Stone Roses for gracing our town with your presence and reminding us why your resurrection is THE headline story of the summer.
Setlist (as taken from Reni):
I Wanna Be Adored
Made Of Stone
(Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister
Where Angels Play
Shoot You Down
She Bangs The Drums