The greatest band ever to walk All Across the Sands.
The band that pretty much changed everything in the late ’80s and early ’90s are about to play a weekend of highly anticipated, homecoming gigs at Heaton Park, Manchester. I am of course talking about The Stone Roses.
I thought it would only be right that I give you a little preview and a review of a very special photo exhibition.
1989: I’m a teenager living in a working-class suburb of Manchester, UK. Like most of my friends, I was the typical 17 year old waiting for something special to happen, something to excite me, inspire me, to penetrate my soul!
That summer I heard a song that would change my life forever. I had never heard anything quite like it before. That song was She Bangs The Drums by The Stone Roses. From that day my life would never be the same again.
After this revelation as it were, I bought everything I could get my hands on by the Roses at the time including their eponymous album – on vinyl of course. The cover with it’s embossed print, over the Jackson Pollock-esque artwork, was created by guitarist/songwriter (genius) John Squire. It was a sight to behold indeed, but not only did it look good, it sounded absolutely amazing, a complete fresh sound like nothing this planet had produced before. From the brooding opener, I Wanna Be Adored to the infectious, Made Of Stone, through to the orgasmic triumph that is, I Am The Resurrection. The album became an instant classic and The Stone Roses’ name would be etched in stone for eternity.
After their trailblazing – and much underrated – Second Coming album in 1994 the band started to implode. Reni was the first to leave and without him, they couldn’t quite recapture their heart and soul. Then John Squire left and who could play guitar like that guy? They trudged along with Robbie Maddix replacing Reni on drums and Aziz Ibrahim taking on guitar. Of course these musicians are brilliant but the band just wasn’t the Roses anymore. After the band’s disastrous ’96 Reading Festival appearance it was curtains.
Front-man Ian Brown would go on to forge a hugely successful solo career. John Squire formed The Seahorses, then went solo for a couple of albums before retiring to his paint brushes. Mani became Primal Scream’s bassist. Reni formed The Rub for a short while and then just seemed to disappear from the radar.
The announcement last year that the band were to reform and tour became the highlight of the year for myself and millions of fans. And to top that, they’ve signed a new album deal! They told the awaiting crowd of drooling journalists that they will play 2 dates at Manchester’s Heaton Park and the 150,000 tickets sold out in 14 minutes!
I’ll be heading up there on the Sunday and I’m absolutely beside myself with excitement. During the 3 days they’ll have support from the likes of Beady Eye, Primal Scream, The Wailers, Plan B and The Vaccines. Yes, that is an amazing bunch of supports, but at the end of the day, it’s all about The Roses.
Some people are worried that Brown’s voice may not be up to scratch. I accept that sometimes The King Monkey can be a little out of tune. But for the 15 or so times I’ve seen him, it’s only been noticeable a couple of times. If you want singers like they’ve descended from heaven then go and book tickets for Il freakin’ Divo! One thing that you can be sure of this weekend will be the amount of love coming from the fans, and that’s worth the ticket price alone!
To fuel my excitement for the concert, I popped over to Whiteleys Shopping Centre in West London for the definitive photo exhibition, The Stone Roses: The Third Coming.
It’s a collection of over 70 images and memorabilia from the classic line-up. The photographs are those taken by legendary photographers Kevin Cummins, Paul Slattery and Ian Tilton, who have collaborated for the first time. You could argue that these were the men that helped elevate the Stone Roses to iconic status.
This exhibition documents the band’s rapid ascent from the small clubs of Manchester to arenas in Japan and their infamous Spike Island concert. All the key moments of their career are illustrated: on the road, live on stage and in the studio. These unique pictures really capture the personalities of the band and it beggars belief why they have never been on show before.
The Stone Roses: The Third Coming is running until the 12th August at the Space gallery, Whiteleys Shopping Centre in Bayswater, London. More info HERE
The Stone Roses play Manchester’s Heaton Park on the 29th/30th and 1st of July.