The Stone Roses
Etihad Stadium, Manchester
19th June 2016
Louder Than War’s Katie Clare takes in a third night of The Stone Roses four night residency at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium.
The Etihad is, as are most stadiums, somewhat monolithic, devoid of elegance even cold impersonal spaces so it is an interesting juxtaposition that events that can stir emotions are held within them: tonight being no exception.
Build up for The Stone Roses four night residency at the home of Manchester City Football Club has been one of increasing highs as the band teased with another citrus soaked poster bombardment that reached around the world for their first new single release in 20 odd years only to be followed up, around a month later, by a second single both stirring passions of all opinions.
To experience is to live; tonight you are here to sing to the stars, to dance to the special rhythms only you can hear. You hope to vicariously taste a little bit of what 27 May 1990 was like on that infamous estuary island in Cheshire, even reliving memories brought flashing back from past as the music, the lyrics, stir up youthful reflections.
Appearing a few minutes after 9 o’clock as the siren sound of The Dismasters’ Small Time Hustler swirls, echoes and fades one last time, Mani, Reni, Ian and John stroll on stage; confident almost at moments nonchalant as they massage us gently into I Wanna Be Adored: it’s what they open with and what they’ve continued with tonight. A sublime 30 seconds of atmospheric Acid House-era revision of ’60’s psychedelic bass echoed by a melodiously thick guitar, the build up to Ian presenting his first line “I don’t have to sell my soul”; the ocean of an audience ripples and waves as bodies sway and bounce.
The Roses keep things at peak level as Elephant Stones delivers the bright and catchiness of indie guitar with the neo-psychedelic essence of Acid House; arms are in the air as from the singing mass.
Reni is a little more stoic this evening than the past two night (especially the previous night when we are sure at one point to have heard Reni singing new back vocals – anyone ?) never the less he still delivers a spellbinding display that is both powerful yet harmoniously funky. Sally Cinnamon, Mersey Paradise and Sugar Spun Sister provide a trio of intensifying tracks; the plaintive passions sung about in the latter brings tears to the eyes with its nostalgic melancholy. The band are playing very succinctly tonight: very much a team, with more confidence and less bravado than Wednesday night.
“Oi dickhead” Ian stops singing “We don’t do that here. If you want to do that you’re in the wrong place” he scolds someone displaying some unworthy behaviour; point made, the song restarts and we are all soon dancing and singing. This has been a huge part of the event like status this gig, the crowd for the most part have been both word perfect and highly vocal. As each track starts a cry of adulation and recognition from 60,000 fans is then shifted to that of exuberant vocal assistance; every word, every nuance repeated in unison.
Bye Bye Badman, Where Angels Play and Shoot You Down seem to fly past and as Begging You throws its hypnotic neo-industrial indie dance in to the mix some attendees seem a little throw by the track from Second Coming – admittedly it hasn’t (until the Halifax warm up) been played live since 1995 – so it may not be on everyone’s playlist. The lull preludes ear shattering cheers as Waterfall’s fragile chimes slide over everyone. Reni’s gently energising and animating each beat as Mani’s bass, almost siren like, pulls you into these rhythms as they fold and merge into the increasing and decreasing melodic flashes that John Squire is delivering. Pulling all these moving parts together is Ian’s vocal, just the right side of hesitant and enduring. Don’t Stop, Elizabeth My Dear and Fool’s Gold slightly calms the mass of movement to a solid sway.
All For One has more gravitas live, its bass more evident, drums more ardent and the audience joining in already means this new single spreads a familiar and warm feeling across the concrete and steel balconies and plastic-covered grass. It’s only the fifth performance of this song yet it feels established in the set.
Made of Stone, She Bangs the Drums and Breaking into Heaven announce that we are nearing the finale and as the final notes of This Is The One ring out Reni’s march like beats lifting us up into that ready to bite bass and Ian almost immediately steps in with an admonishment and sends everyone bouncing with the last of their energy.
As the four men meet at the front of the stage, they beam with delight at each other at the for what was a captivating event, they hug and bow and as they leave the stage the sky lights up with a huge fireworks display as Beautiful Thing’s slowed backwards All for One-based melody fills the stadium. The seas of people drain out of the exits, faces show happiness and elation, conversations are positive and celebratory.
You could find negatives here tonight, one or two with The Stone Roses themselves but none of them detracted enough from the positives for tonight to be anything other like the previous two than inclusive, compelling and a hell of a lot of fun – bring on night four!
The Stone Roses have an official website, Facebook page and Twitter where they tweet as @thestoneroses.