In truth, a concert like this isn’t simply about the music, but about the whole experience. 45,000 strong souls braved the long walk, insanely sticky mud and the long queues for beer (and portaloos) for the ‘Second Second Coming’ of The Stone Roses. Supported by fine Dublin band the Minutes, Mick Jones and the Justice, and The Wailers, whose populist reggae seemed to mellow out the audience, evoking the long-departed Bob Marley.
The atmosphere was nothing short of euphoric as Ian Brown and co skanked onstage, beginning with one of the evening’s highpoints, I Wanna Be Adored. The band sounded rather good, particularly John Squire’s rockist guitar, toying liberally with the melody as the mass singalong drowned out Brown’s vocals. Concern over his vocals would surface in the less well known Mersey Paradise, where Brown hit some seriously flat notes, and later on Don’t Stop (he should have) and This Is The One (it wasn’t).
Otherwise, it was a set of crowd-pleasing numbers as most of the debut album was played, plus Sally Cinnamon, Fool’s Gold, Love Spreads creating a very 70s rock vibe, Hendrix and the Who. Made of Stone felt cathartic and emotional, and the set climaxed with some clever lighting and a hugely enjoyable I Am The Resurrection.
There was a feeling of closing a chapter, an ending of sorts, which would probably be best. Ultimately it was an enjoyable nostalgia trip as much as anything else, the lyrics of She Bangs The Drums (“the past was yours but the future’s mine”) not ringing true. More Fool’s Gold than Resurrection. It seems churlish to ‘Shoot Them Down’ but it could be Bye Bye Badman for the last time.