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Everything's Coming Up Roses
With cloudscraping anthems like ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ and ‘Waterfall’ they were the band that defined a generation. Now, after decades of bitterness and vows of never again, The Stone Roses are back and ready to rock Dublin. Long-time friend, confidante and biographer John Robb was there to witness their remarkable rebirth. Ahead of their much-anticipated Phoenix Park appearance, he goes on the road with the group and assesses their extraordinary legacy.
John Robb, 05 Jul 2012
Backstage at Warrington Parr Hall there’s a sense of relief and triumph. The Stone Roses have just come off-stage after a secret show, arranged to get the band into gear for their comeback world tour.
Announced on the chaps’ website at four o’clock in the afternoon, fans were told to bring a Stone Roses album cover to gain admission. Dusty old record collections were raided, and copies of the band’s much-played and mightily-loved debut rushed down to the 800 capacity Victorian venue in the middle of the working-class Cheshire town where Ian Brown was born. The Stone Roses never did do things in a conventional way and choosing to play the gig in their heartland, cheered on by fans who made them legends,. is a perfect move. By kick-off, the place is packed to the rafters.
The UK national media have, naturally, hot-tailed it to the show and whilst the BBC is locked outside, the people of Warrington and some faster than lightening superfans and faces from the old days have wangled their way in. The buzz in the §room is electric, the crowd dancing to tour DJ Phil Beckett’s excellent choice of tunes, which range from punk and classic soul to acid house and even West Coast rock – all key constituents in the Stone Roses mix. And then the moment we’ve all been waiting for arrives.
When the iconic bassline of ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ rumbles across the venue, the gaff goes crazy, a watching Liam Gallagher on his feet momentarily forgetting his own success in Oasis and turning back into the awestruck 15-year-old who saw the Stone Roses play at Manchester International 2 in 1988 (the moment when, like so many of his generation in the UK, he realised what this stuff was all about and copped the Ian Brown swagger and attitude to become an icon in his own right).
The gig is fantastic – strip away the atmosphere and the history and it’s still a great rock ‘n’ roll band playing those quicksilver melodies that mixed melancholia and euphoria and created the debut album that’s become a British music classic just like the best records by The Beatles, the Stones, the Pistols, The Jam and The Clash – building blocks of Britain’s music culture and part of the national psyche.