The Stone Roses finally made a triumphant homecoming on the first night of their Manchester Heaton Park weekender tonight (June 29).
After a run of European warm-ups, 75,000 revellers of all ages turned up for music’s most anticipated show of the year, as one of the city’s most legendary bands played their first major UK show in 16 years.
Just after 9pm (BST), the intro track of The Supremes‘ ‘Stoned Love’ faded out and what the world was waiting for took place; Ian Brown, John Squire, Mani and Reni walked onstage and powered into their 1989 classic ‘I Wanna Be Adored’.
Following quickly with ‘Mersey Paradise’, ‘(Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister’ and ‘Where Angels Play’, Brown quipped, “As you can see, we’ve still got it.” He sported a black biker jacket, while guitarist Squire sported a tartan jacket. Mani wore paisley, while Reni repeated the dreadlock wig, which many have speculated is a nod to his ’90s replacement Robbie Maddix. Mani played a selection of basses, with a psychedelic pink and yellow model replaced by the red, yellow and green colours of Rastafarianism, in a nod to support act The Wailers.
‘Love Spreads’ saw Brown strip down to a black patterned T-shirt and Reni don his trademark cap, on top of the dreadlock wig. And as the song ended, King Monkey jammed the track out into a rap, celebrating the band’s return and demanding applause.
Before ‘This Is The One’, a proud Brown asked the crowd, “Who’s from Manchester?” As they careered into their final run of A-list hits, he exclaimed, “Looking out, I can see we still got the best looking girls!”
But as the show approached its climax, the gloves came off. The singer made a barbed comment on the recent Diamond Jubilee celebrations before ‘Elizabeth My Dear’. He said, “This song’s dedicated to those parasites down the road… celebrating 60 years of tyranny!”
They went on finish with a heroic rendition of ‘I Am The Resurrection’, extended into its traditional wig-out epilogue. The bandmembers then hugged, stood in solidarity at the front of the stage, and then departed jubilant, with a stubborn lack of encore.
As the crowd dispersed, a spectacular firework display went off, to the strains of ‘Redemption Song’, one of the few Bob Marley classics The Wailers did not play earlier on.
The Stone Roses played:
‘I Wanna Be Adored’
‘(Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister’
‘Where Angels Play’
‘Shoot You Down’
‘Bye Bye Badman’
‘Ten Storey Love Song’
‘Made Of Stone’
‘This Is The One’
‘She Bangs The Drums’
‘Elizabeth My Dear’
‘I Am The Resurrection’
Earlier on, Mani was able to look upon his previous band Primal Scream, who are playing their first dates with their replacement bass player Debbie Googe. They also treated fans to epic, and also timely, new track ‘2012’.
Before that, The Wailers performed Bob Marley classics ‘Three Little Birds’, ‘No Woman No Cry’ and ‘One Love’, the only band to support on all three nights, at the personal request of Ian Brown. And earlier in the afternoon, The Vaccines previewed their imminent second album ‘The Vaccines Come Of Age’ and local ska boys Kid British opened the show.
Formed in Manchester in 1983, The Stone Roses were the heroes of the baggy era. They made history with their 1989 debut, widely considered to be one of the greatest of all time. But it took them until 1994 to release its follow-up ‘Second Coming’, and they eventually dissolved in 1996. After years of insisting they would never do it, they finally announced their reunion in October last year. They made a surprise live comeback at Warrington’s Parr Hall last month.
NME‘s definitive review of the Stone Roses homecoming shows will hit newsstands next Wednesday (July 4) – if you want your photos to be included in the issue, tweet us your Heaton Park pictures or post them to Instagram using the hashtag #heatonparknme.