Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Stone Roses - I Wanna Be Adored

When I heard that The Stone Roses were coming to Australia I booked tickets straight away. It didn't matter that I had to pay for a full festival ticket just to see a one hour gig - this was The Stone Roses, for heaven's sake. I booked the tickets five months before the band arrived in Australia; I spent weeks hoping that Ian Brown and John Squire wouldn't fall out and break the band up (again).

Such is the pace of this crazy life that I parked the emailed tickets in a folder and just kept on doing the things I do. I didn't even think about the fact that the Roses might play some sideshows. Therefore, I missed the chance to travel to the east coast and see them play a "proper" concert. Never mind...

I spent the day of the gig listening to my Stone Roses CDs. Despite only releasing two "proper" albums, there's (at least) four compilations, the remix record, and a few bootlegs. It had been a little while since I'd listened so it was a pleasant way to spend a hot day.

We arrive at the Future Music Festival about an hour before the gig and set about locating the stage. It is obvious to me that many of these people have had a long, hard day. Sunburned bodies, staggering and slurring seem to be the order of the day. Tattoos and underpants are prevalent. Not the greatest advertisement for youth, vitality and beauty, but I guess we've all been there. Some of us have lived to tell the tale.

Dusk provides some relief from the heat as the band walks onto the stage to warm applause. Some of these folks have waited years for this; myself included. A perfect setting; warm but not hot, a starry Adelaide sky, an easygoing vibe running through the crowd. No prizes for guessing the first song. I Wanna Be Adored. I am in pinch-myself territory for a few moments. Here I am, watching the Stone Roses. I'd seen Ian Brown at The Gov a few years' back but this is the real deal. I hope it will last forever.

Reni, resplendent in bucket hat, and Mani are solid, with the occasional flourish, and John Squire's guitar is faithful to the original Roses' sound, perhaps showing what he's picked up since, every now and again. King Monkey's voice is spot on (in Roses' terms), although the last couple of songs seem to take a few seconds before the sounds mesh. Perhaps it is an imbalance with the lead and backing vocals.

The set progresses through familiar and expected territory; I don't know why I'm surprised to hear Sally Cinnamon but I am. Of some interest is the performance of Don't Stop; a song that is based on the reversed recording of Waterfall. Life imitating art. Everybody loves Fools Gold, even this 10-minute version. Made of Stone and This is the One take me back to another (life)time. Unsurprisingly, only one song from the second album gets a run out. Love Spreads. The Second Coming album is a guilty pleasure of mine, and I prefer quite a few of the album tracks to Love Spreads. How Do You Sleep, anyone? Oh well, it's their choice. The Roses return to earlier days with She Bangs the Drums; a great singalong tune. The lengthy, applause-baiting, finale of I Am the Resurrection is classic. Have they finished? Yes? No? More! All done!

Ian Brown has said almost nothing through out the set. His farewell consists of a few repeats of the phrases "Stone Roses" and "Thank You". All four join hands and thank the audience. Lovely boys, all.

And then, they are gone.

And so are we. Back to the car, dodging the dodgy t-shirt sellers hiding in the parkland shadows. $20 for a t-shirt? No thanks boys; the one I'm wearing cost me five quid in the HMV Store in Derby in the nineties and it's still going strong.

Setlist:  I Wanna Be Adored, Sally Cinnamon, Waterfall, Don't Stop, Fools Gold, Made of Stone, This is the One, Love Spreads, She Bangs the Drums, I Am the Resurrection.


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