29th, 30th June & 1st July 2012
“I Was There” events are far and few between during a lifetime but The Stone Roses Heaton Park gigs can certainly sit in such a category.
This was history, no question. Ever since the announcement in October 2011 fans who had been left praying for a reunion for 16 years were granted their wish, me included.
Such was the demand that these have become the fastest selling shows in British history. Manchester’s most celebrated band were coming back. Rumours had always been around but the message from the band members was that this was one reunion that would EVER happen. There was too much bad blood.
But then suddenly in October 2011 a press conference was called and the dates were announced. These were tickets that simply couldn’t be passed up.
The most sought after tickets in my lifetime so far came via Nick and so the pilgrimage to Manchester was on.
However things have changed since the last time The Stone Roses were on the bill and the long trek up to Manchester from the south coast was enough to mean that a quiet night was in order Saturday. A rather depressing reminder that your getting older. In order to be able to take hours and hours of standing a muddy field and then walking back over 5 miles to the hotel meant taking it easy the night before. I wasn’t feeling 100% either which I feel should also be highlighted.
Soon it was Sunday morning and after a night of rain it had become unavoidable that a shopping trip was needed. The rain had been non stop all night and Twitter had been full of tales of a mudbath. Wellies were needed.
The only issue – Manchester totally had sold out.
That was apart from one shop that had a nice collection left. The only problem was they were all womens.
Nick (who had traveled with all weather footwear) was of course all for me making this purchase especially when the only ones that fit were lovely flowery ones.
As I stood there pondering whether I could actually wear female wellies for a gig in Manly Manchester groups of lads came and went all declaring they “couldn’t fooking wear those”.
One Mancunian did buy some but promptly declared that the size 8′s were for his wife and not him. This was all delivered with a lying undertone of “and I’ll kick your head in if you believe me”.
In the end I decided I didn’t really give a shit. Although that wasn’t before picking the most unisex ones on the shelf. In truth there was no escaping the fact that they were female boots with a lovely Cuban heel (that would later all but break me during the 5 mile walk back into Manchester).
Many looked at my footwear on the way to Heaton Park but no comments.
Once there they paid for themselves, the place was a mudbath. But the atmosphere was electric. 75,000 people anticipating the event of their lifetime. The number of nostalgia chasing fans in their late 30′s and early 40′s far out numbered the youngsters (as you would expect). The anticipation of the crowd further backed up just how important this set of gigs was. History was about to be created.
Stood there in the mud surrounded by everyday professional people who had become kids again for the weekend it seemed impossible for there to be a down side – but there was.
This was 75,000 Stone Roses fans all ready to be built up into sheer anticipation at the home coming of the citys most famous and important band. So why the fuck were Plan B the main support act on Sunday? Who the fuck made that decision? Friday had Primal Scream, Saturday was Beady Eye. We had Plan B. Not only is Strickland Banks a dull self indulgent wannabe wide boy but his tedious music simply wasn’t the Manc Sound of yesteryear that would have been a far, far better fit.
A terrible choice and a terrible act. Half way through I turned to Nick “Do I really have to list Plan B as a band I have seen live?” We didn’t know the answer. All I know is that I will try and block it out.
But never mind because The Roses were 30 minutes away.
Nostalgia is a wonderful thing and memories always make things better the more time goes by. But this wasn’t nostalgia, this was happening now and this was beyond all expectations.
The band walked on to sheer elation. Grown men and women all looking around at each other with the biggest smiles you have ever seen – “This is really happening – they are really here”. Just brilliant.
The gig started in exactly the same way my love affair with the band started, I Wanna Be Adored.
The biggest karaoke Manchester had ever witnessed was underway. I can’t take credit for the video below but it’s a great capture of the start:
This was a monumental gig.
No one truly knew how this would all turn out. Most expected this to be a rusty performance but a nice event to say you attended. In truth there are hundreds of band who have been playing live for years who will never reach the level of genius The Roses did during these three gigs.
A bias view? No.
This was a fresh and tight. The chemistry was there for all to see.
In truth if The Stone Roses were to release their debut album again today – it would change the world all over again.
I Wanna Be Adored was sung by the crowd with so much love it could have been classed as the most important song ever written.
A 12 minute version of Fool’s Gold was epic
Waterfall followed by Don’t Stop let the band show off just how good they still were. (Don’t Stop for those who aren’t big fans is Waterfall played backwards). “No backing tapes here – these boys can play but then you lot already knew that” beamed Ian Brown at the end of the track.
Anthem after anthem rained out while the rain stayed away.
This was fucking huge.
I Was There.
Heaton Park has gone down in history.
Seeing Squire play I Am The Resurrection at the end ticks a major life experience.
A lingering band at the end, especially Ian Brown who just didn’t want to leave the stage clearly loved it and were taking in exactly what had happened over the last three nights.
The Third Coming is rumored to be truly on the horizon. A new album written and (some say) recorded.
Just the thought alone gets the butterflies jumping around. Is there? Is there really a new album?
Oh fuck please say there is. Lets do this all again…