Sixty thousand people from across the nation flocked to see the Mancunian maestros play the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night. The Stone Roses returned to play at home for the first time in four years, and the adoring fans were not let down.
Fans poured into the stadium throughout the afternoon to be treated to fantastic, energising and well-varied sets from indie band Blossoms, reggae group Chronixx, and Public Enemy. With a refreshing mix of live instruments and the stupendous decks of DJ Lord, hip hop group Public Enemy enthused the crowd and left each person ecstatic for The Stone Roses’ main set.
With only two new songs released since their album ‘Second Coming’ in 1994, Mr. Brown and the band are followed by an extremely loyal, varied fan base. The band swagger onto the stage and the stadium erupts into a thunderous roar as Mani brings the bass to open with ‘I Wanna Be Adored’. An array of coloured smoke flares bloom across the pitch as people of all ages sing along to each and every word with frontman Ian Brown. ‘Elephant Stone’ brings Reni into the limelight, proving that after 33 years he can still propel on percussion. ‘Sally Cinnamon’ proved to be a crowd favourite, with John Squire’s unmistakable opening guitar riff heightening the nostalgic feel to show. Fans holler in unison “pop pop pop pop blow blow bubble gum, you taste of cherryade” with Ian, which continues the atmosphere of absolute exuberance.
The clear advantage to not having released an album for 22 years is that the set list is undoubtedly going to please all; following ‘Sally Cinnamon’ was the strangely worded, but nonetheless fantastic ‘Mersey Paradise’. The crowd continued to go wild as the simple opening chords for ‘(Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister’ lead to 60,000 people singing “every member of parliament trips on glue” with hands in the air. And just when you think it couldn’t get any better the band perform ‘Bye Bye Badman’ despite the lack of “citrus sucking sunshine,” Ian Brown dedicated the song to police officers, or “human beings posing as police men” rather. Squire’s talent is truly showcased in ‘Bye Bye Badman’ with the lead guitar effortlessly rolling throughout.
Despite being a gentle, lesser known track, ‘Where Angels Play’ still had fans singing along before the classic ‘Shoot You Down’, followed by the funky ‘Begging You’. As if by magic, during the timeless ‘Waterfall’, the heavens opened, and the rain began to pour down on the fans as they sang “she’ll carry on through it all, she’s a waterfall”. The song seamlessly ran into a slightly stripped back version of ‘Don’t Stop’ before the only song that made the crowd stand still – in a good way – ‘Elizabeth My Dear’.
An evident highlight of the show was everybody’s all-time favourite, ‘Fools Gold’. Every person around the stands was on their feet, joining the thousands on the pitch and dancing in their seats. The energy and brilliance of the classic ten minute track kept all grooving to Mani’s unforgettable bassline for the entire song. Following ‘Fools Gold’ was the only recent track in the set list. Despite mixed reviews upon release, ‘All For One’ had everybody singing along and dancing like no tomorrow, it’s safe to say it went down extremely well live, especially with it being more suited to Ian’s vocals than a few of the older tracks.
The Manchester band were definitely on a stellar streak as the sonorous bassline for ‘Love Spreads’ echoed around the stadium. The rain is pouring at this point but it didn’t seem to bother anybody at all, the fans had long awaited the return of The Stone Roses and they certainly lived up to expectations. Following was ‘Made of Stone,’ with Squire’s evocative guitar and the slightly eerie lyrics “are you all alone? is anybody home?” being belted by tens of thousands, the song definitely stood out that evening as one of the greats.
With Reni on drums and Mani on bass they completely drove ‘She Bangs The Drums’, and it was clear the band were enjoying themselves as much as the crowd were. Following this was ‘Breaking Into Heaven’ before the wonderful ‘This Is The One’, dedicated to David Beckham, who attended the gig. Emotions were running high and fans held tight onto their loved ones whilst belting out “this is the one I’ve waited for” over and over.
The final song was obviously ‘I Am The Resurrection’, which sent the stadium into uncontrollable euphoria, at each chorus 120 thousand arms were flung into the air as the crowd belted “I AM THE RESURRECTION AND I AM THE LIGHT” followed by an explosion of fireworks above the stage. Mani tells all “you will always be the best fans in the world” before Ian jokes “give us five minutes and we’re going to come back and do it all again”.
The Stone Roses are back, and they’ve still got it.