Playing four nights in a stadium is an impossible dream for most people. In theory, it seems pretty tiresome too. Yet we have to remember that The Stone Roses have been at this for almost 40 years, and while for some it’s exactly that which causes their downfall, Ian, John, Mani and Reni are clearly yet to fall victim to time.
It’s also clear that time is almost irrelevant to their fans too: in spite of the fact that half the Etihad crowd were certainly too young to be alive during the Roses prime there was no air of judgement, no disgust at young fans stealing music that “belongs” to another generation. And perhaps, despite a near 15-year break, they’re still in said prime.
Though the day was no doubt a lengthy one for those in attendance, with Manchester full of day-drinkers since an ungodly hour, The Stone Roses proved that time (rather sadly sometimes) does fly when you’re having fun. Before long the band had powered through a triumphant first half featuring ‘I Wanna Be Adored’, ‘Sally Cinnamon’, ‘(Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister’ – i.e. everything you’d want to hear and more – and were kicking off the second with ‘Waterfall’.
While it would be wrong to pretend everything was perfect (sonically it could’ve been significantly better), it almost didn’t matter, as it was as close it could have been. When older bands play big gigs, there’s a tendency for them to have a sense of closure about them, and while The Stone Roses didn’t necessarily hint too much to the future (playing only one of their new tracks live) it was definitely a celebration rather than an ending.
With the latter half equally as triumphant – I fail to think of a Roses song that isn’t gloriously anthemic – I’ve no doubt everyone was left feeling as fuzzy inside as I was. Who knew that the lads in bucket hats and Adidas jackets, who’d been terrorising the streets of Manchester not hours before, could make up such a heart-warming crowd. But as much as the crowd are a big part of any band, it is, at the end of the day, the songs (the ‘Made Of Stone’ and ‘She Bangs The Drums’ choruses, the ‘I Am The Resurrection’ grooviness) that makes The Stone Roses special. And this week has proved just how special they are.