The Stone Roses will return to Glasgow Green, scene of their famous 1990 gig, in June 2013. Alan Woodhouse looks back on that victorious night.
Ian Brown has stated on several occasions that The Stone Roses’ last performance on Glasgow Green on June 9, 1990 was the best (pre-reformation) show the band played. Coming just two weeks after the damp squib that was Spike Island, you could understand why he took this view.
This writer has never, before or since, witnessed a more passionate, up-for-it crowd than the 10,000 or so who crammed into the big top that night. It was like being at a football match where everyone was supporting the same team. It wasn’t just the singalongs, of which there were many – it was that virtually everyone there had a Roses T-shirt of some description on, and there were also a lot of flared trousers and Reni hats being proudly worn, like some sort of Roses first team strip. It was unbelievably partisan, and wonderfully so.
The band’s actual performance wasn’t technically outstanding – the sound was a bit muddy and Brown’s vocals were a bit wayward – but no one cared. It was all about the feeling. The highpoints were as you’d expect – the roar of anticipation that greeted Mani’s rumbling bassline at the beginning of set opener ‘I Wanna Be Adored’, the euphoric, skyscraping choruses of ‘She Bangs The Drums’ and ‘Made Of Stone’, and, of course, the wig-out at the end of the perennial set-closer ‘I Am The Resurrection’, which sparked a reaction so hysterical that you just knew you were witnessing something which would be talked about for a very long time (and here we are 23 years on!). Even the pretty rubbish single they previewed that night, ‘One Love’, (which would become a UK top 10 hit a month later, but was pointedly not played at this year’s Roses reunion shows), went down well.
The event was as significant a moment for the punters as it clearly was for the Roses themselves. Remember, this was a bunch of people who a year earlier would scrap on the terraces, but the joy of discovering a great band, (and, if we’re being completely honest here, the ingestion of some terrific pharmaceuticals), had turned everyone into lovers rather than fighters. Being there, you can understand why the Roses still command such devotion and loyalty today, and why people waited for so long, anxious for the chance to do it all over again. It was awesome to witness, and The Roses will find it difficult to top. Anyone would.