I grew up more or less on a diet of music my dad introduced me to. During my early formative years Britpop played on the radio and car journeys were filled with the sound of Manic Street Preachers, REM, Oasis and Pulp. Over the years my dad has introduced me to a number of artists I will be forever grateful for, one of these bands is the Stone Roses. Stone Roses are one of the pioneering acts of the Madchester movement and their songs are played at indie discos worldwide. The band disbanded in 1996 and so I never thought the day would come when I would get the chance to see them. In 2012 the band announced they would be playing some festivals and an intimate headline show to 1000 fans at Parr Hall in Warrington; rumours started picking up that the band were soon to release new material and more shows. In 2015 the band announced through cryptic lemon posters that they would be playing four shows at the Etihad Stadium in June 2016, the shows sold out pretty rapidly and at the time I was a skint student between finance drops not quite able to afford the ticket prices, so I gave up all hope on getting to see them. In June 2016 they announced more dates this time in London, Belfast and Glasgow and once again I gave up on getting tickets because of the cost of travelling to the venues, so silently seething and green-eyed at everyone who was going I pretended I didn’t mind not seeing one of my favourite bands play live. Then in December 2016, like an early Christmas present, it was announced that Stone Roses were to play 2 shows in June 2017 in Leeds, I snapped tickets up as soon as they went on sale and excitedly informed the boyfriend to keep Wednesday 21st June 2017 free in his calendar….for I had secured tickets for one of the most iconic music acts to ever grace this planet.
The 6 months soon passed and before I knew it, it was June 21st and we were travelling to Leeds. I’d arranged to stay with my cousin and his boyfriend as they currently live just outside of the city centre in Oakwood, near Roundhay Park. We arrived just after lunchtime and after a herbal tea and a slice of homemade sweet potato cake (genuinely really tasty) my cousin morphed into a tour guide and took us on a scenic walk around the beautiful acres of Roundhay Park. The heat was baking and my make-up was melting but it was well worth the venture to view upon the idyllic ponds, stretches of green grass and the botanical woodland trails; it was very easy to forget we were on the outskirts of a major city. We ambled back to the flat and realising we’d not eaten in a while embarked on a team Ready Steady Cook style effort of making a meal out of the ingredients we could find. We ended up with a tasty and satisfying plate of vegetable pasta topped with cheddar and flavoured with the herbs my cousin grows in his living room which is basically a greenhouse. 6pm approached and my cousin’s boyfriend kindly dropped us off outside of the venue – The First Direct Arena, noting the band wouldn’t be on until 9pm we went into the very nearby and very packed Stick or Twist pub, and yes you guessed it….it’s another Wetherspoons mention!
My cousin’s living room
For the occasion I had picked out this gorgeous gingham blue and white print playsuit garnished with a lemon pattern from River Island. I don’t like to wear band tees of the band I’m seeing to gigs so I thought this simple summer piece was the perfect alternative – considering the bands link with lemons.
Playsuit – River Island via ASOS
Shoes – Converse
The pub was absolutely heaving with pre-gig revellers; easy to spot in bucket hats, lemon printed t-shirts and Adidas gear. The boyfriend had conveniently forgot his wallet in the flat so it was my task to stand out the bar wait and order the drinks, I stuck to G&T’s and he had a variety of lagers due to most of the barrels running out one by one. We enjoyed our drinks outside in the warm Summer Solstice air and discussed the topic of “If you could go back and see any band/artist live who would it be” – we’re still coming up with answers now. Time passes very fast when you’re drinking gin and talking nonsense and so 8.30 pm approached fast so we hot-footed it around to the arena where we were met with crowds of people waiting to gain entry, thankfully the queues went down quickly and after a body check (but no bag check for me which I didn’t think was great security considering recent events) we were inside. We had seated tickets so we made our way up to that area – naturally clumsy me fell up the stairs twice in my haste to get there. I was wary of the fact we had seated tickets, I thought we would be all the way back in the car park squinting through binoculars to see anything, however the First Direct Arena seating is steeped so high that no matter where you sit you have a perfect view of the stage. The support was DJ act Phil Beckett, somewhat disappointing considering the Liam Gallagher rumours and the fact Wembley got Blossoms and Glasgow were getting Primal Scream, but we were there for one band and one band only. A band who epitomise the original ‘baggy’ music scene with their jangly sixties-esque guitars, 90s acid dance beats and rock ‘n’ roll swagger. The Stone Roses are a band who have transcended the ages so there was inevitably a mix of ages attending the venue; I always love witnessing the universality of music.
The boyfriend & I enjoying some beverages.
The Stone Roses burst onto stage with the thumping, euphoric ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ and seemingly everyone got up and grooved. The band worked their way through a setlist of now bonafide indie classics, including one of my favourites, early single release – ‘Sally Cinnamon’. The setlist was a majority of the bands self-titled, paint-splattered, lemon-printed debut album, with only Love Spreads, Breaking into Heaven and Begging You chosen from their second (and last to date) album ‘Second Coming’. 2016’s ‘All for One’ gets a run out and quite instantly captures the mood of the arena, perhaps it’s the simplicity of the lyrics but it is a sure-fire singalong and every one of us in that room for one night was indeed ‘all one family’. The entire set was one big communal sing-a-long and a rapturous celebration of The Stone Roses unforgettable sound. John Squire sounded tight on guitar delivering sublime grooves, Mani’s impressive bass throbbed and rolled in every song played, Remi’s drums were insistent and at times frantic, anchoring the sound. Even Ian Brown’s voice held up for the 90 minutes, the magnetic frontman paraded around the stage shaking a jingle stick with the confidence and verve that only a true icon owns.
Every song was met with an enraptured roar from the crowd but it was the likes of ‘Made of Stone’, ‘Waterfall’, ‘She Bangs the Drums’ and ‘This is the One that called for the most response. The foursome finished with the climactic ‘I Am The Resurrection’ which sounded every bit as glorious and gorgeous as when I first heard it. I was somewhat gutted Ian Brown and co. didn’t throw ‘Ten Storey Love Song’ and ‘Beautiful Thing’ into the mix, however there’s no denying that the band were on top form. For 90 minutes on a mid-June summer night The Stone Roses commanded utter attention and awe from their adoring audience. This was the one, love spread and the band certainly were adored.
I Wanna Be Adored
(Song for My) Sugar Spun Sister
Where Angels Play
Shoot You Down
Elizabeth My Dear
All for One
Made of Stone
She Bangs the Drums
Breaking into Heaven
This Is the One
I Am the Resurrection
We rounded the evening off with another beverage back in the Wetherspoons we had grown so fond of, before my cousin picked us up and we crashed out on the sofa. Leeds was a lovely little break in the middle of a working week and all in all I enjoyed my Stone Roses experience, it’s a somewhat life-affirming feeling getting to see one of my favourite bands live.
Until next time,