The simple fact of the matter is that, like so many thousands of others, I couldn’t help myself from being truly carried away by the day’s events.
Of course, I had brought notepad, pen and dictaphone to ensure I captured all the best moments.
But they didn’t even make it out my bag in the excitement.
Perhaps my series of events may differ from the more professional perspectives.
So, this write up comes fresh from the heart of the matter.
Which is directly from the overwhelmed core of my heart, where this very special day’s events are stored.
The decision to go easy on the booze was confirmed as the right decision as soon as we entered Heaton Park, just after 3PM. We encountered someone we shall refer to as PC1, who seemed to be having a whole world of problems staying vertical. Had he been here since Friday? Best heading straight towards the front pit for the all important wristband. (OK, via the bar for a swifty)
The support acts comprised of Dirty North, The Justice for the People band. The Wailers and Plan B.
The Wailers most definitely got everyone in the mood, whilst Plan B was, perhaps surprisingly for me, rather entertaining too.
But there was really only one band everyone was here to see.
Already knowing the set list from the two previous nights took nothing from the excitement or the anticipation as the clock ticked mercilessly slowly past 9PM.
At 9.15PM, whilst still light, the Stone Roses took to the stage and the opener ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ had the crowd entranced. As hands waved and people bounced for a glimpse of the band we all knew that the long wait was already worth it.
Ian Brown, centre stage seemed to be lapping up every minute of what he saw before him.
It’s difficult to describe how Mani looked. Somewhere between in awe and out of breath, before a chord had been played. In unison we knew though, were going to get a show tonight.
Squire esque cool epitomised best by the man himself, nonchalantly picked up his guitar as Reni bounded towards his drum kit donning the kind of headgear creation only Reni is allowed to get away with.
They started the set as they meant to carry on, with passion, desire and a very visible gritty determination to make this the best night possible for the thousands of fans. Most of whom had waited years for this moment.
The stage became awash with light, and the strategically placed video screens, unused today until now, sprung to life.
It sounded tight…and without wanting to sound like some kind of muso, everything fell into place so beautifully.
Mani’s bass could be felt in the sternum of every member of the crowd, whether they knew it or not at this point. And of course, it wouldn’t have been complete without Mani getting his little ‘thing’ in, this time by way of flipping his bass to reveal the “MANI UTD” logo.
Ian Brown’s vocals oozing charisma, also brought a more funky vibe at times. We sensed he was putting his mind, body and soul into every note.
“There’s people falling down at the front” Brown motioned, early on. ‘If you see someone falling, pick them up…physically and metaphysically”
Perfect time to note that there were a couple of more subdued moments throughout the set, but this seemed more like the opportunity to catch your breath for the next wave of excitement as opposed to anyone metaphysically falling over.
And what can we say of Reni and John Squire?
Not a beat missed by the drummer, who kept it funky, rocky, psychedelic, trippy, cosmic and boss. One or two of those comments taken from the crowd reaction.
And if anyone was worried whether John Squire would still perform, they didn’t have long to wait to find out.
This tweet, (by Urbanfox70) after the gig summed it up perfectly….
“John Squire is still an elite guitarist! As good as I’ve seen”
The setlist can be seen below, each song, in it’s own way special for a plethora of different reasons for the crowd.
And everyone had their favourites. Here are just a few tweets from those I asked, who also provided us with some tips from the previous days;
@dellerm – Resurrection was amazing as was waterfall.
@Tim_Burgess – Fool’s Gold was stunning.
@GNev2 Oh my god I have never seen anything like this!
@tommyw82 – Bring your wellys it’s a mud bath already. Great night
@Stu_Oz – You fellas enjoy the concert? Pure gold! Have a good trek back to town!!
@UrbanFox70 – Favourite song is joint. Love Spreads and Fools Gold.
@JayNorth1989 – fav song of the set…… Made of stone! For the pure “psychedelicness” of it 😛
@The_flash_north – Enjoy tomorrow that’s all I have to say.
And me? Well Love Spreads just seemed so perfect. Aptly, it was as beautiful as the sight of revellers throwing their arms around total strangers.
And it was an absolute joy to share the day with such a wonderful crowd.
To all those PC’s we bumped into, thank you. To Mr Lips, thanks for keeping us amused.
To all the performers, organisers, writers who have done the pre and post, more accurate write ups, thank you.
And to the Stone Roses in particular, thank you for re-affirming the love of a generation.
On that special note of love, I’d like to close with what I believe is the most important part of this re-union and indeed these gigs.
Firstly (of my lastly) a couple more tweets;
My good pal @UrbanFox70 – Who I attended the gig with. “Loved every minute of the weekend mate”
And my 23 year old nephews, who, I’d like to think I may have influenced musically over the last 10 or so years. Both had tickets for Saturday.
@JayNorth1989 – “Having the absolute time of my life. Wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you”
@The_flash_north -“Wish we could have been with you to them, words could not describe!”
These gigs were important to so many of the “old guard” both fans and musicians. From myself and and the Urban (becoming silver) Fox to the musicians and bands that were around when the Stone Roses first started. We’ve listened to their music since we were young and they gave us our shot at re-living our youth. Man, that felt amazing.
Equally important was this occasion to the younger generation. The fans, like my nephews who weren’t born the last time there was an opportunity to see the band play. The bands who are around now, who were inspired by the Roses.
And the bands of tomorrow. Those who came, saw and are inspired to go and become the next band of a generation.
With gratitude in our hearts let’s remember this;
Love came back.
Love gave us what we wanted and what we needed.
It’s up to everyone of us to make sure it keeps spreading.