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The Stone Roses, Finsbury Park | reviews, news & interviews

The Stone Roses, Finsbury Park

The Stone Roses, Finsbury Park

Ian Brown and his Mancunian legends do the resurrection shuffle again

The Stone Roses back onstage – and still wanting to be adored

When the Stone Roses first made a splash with their eponymous debut album in 1989 they were almost perfect. The only mistake was a brief flirtation with flared trousers. Nearly a quarter of a century on in north London the strides were strictly straight-legged. The only flares were the red ones some clot in the audience kept lighting. I don't envy his prospects if health and safety ever get hold of him.

As for the music, this show, the first of two nights in the capital, certainly burnt brightly, but only in places. At times Ian Brown's vocals sounded flatter than the sozzled audience singalongs. When he sang "You're all out of time" on "She Bangs the Drum" he might as well have been singing "I'm all out of tune."

Brown looked good, the godfather of the simian stroll copped by Liam Gallagher

But elsewhere the Roses were as resplendently magnificent as they were in their first coming. Brown looked good, the godfather of the simian stroll copped by Liam Gallagher and a generation of snarky Mancunians. He could have been more communicative though, not saying much after an opening "nice one, thanks" and introducing the still gloriously beautiful "Waterfall" as "for the ladies" as if he was a crooner in a scampi-in-a-basket nightclub.

There was not a great display of onstage chemistry between the rest of the band, but they certainly played their part in recreating that famous wall-to-wall sound. Guitarist John Squire, his face concealed under a mop that was shaggier than ever, was on virtuoso form, switching seamlessly between rock, funk and psychedelic noodling.

A number of songs were enhanced by extended Squire solos and there were even hints of Hendrix on "Shoot You Down". On the other side of the stage Mani on bass, kept company by a selection of Toby jugs balanced on his speakers, seemed to be concentrating too hard to enjoy himself, while there was no unscripted disappearance from drummer Reni this time, unlike in the new movie, Made of Stone.

The quartet only released two albums and one of those lost the plot a little, so it was no surprise that most of the gig highlights came from that definitive debut that mixed Sixties jangle with punk arrogance. "This Is the One" and "Made of Stone" stood out, while "I Am The Resurrection" was even more relevant today than when it was first recorded – though now it refers to the band being back together, not Ian Brown's messiah complex. "I Wanna Be Adored" continued this chest-thumping theme, while the republican clarion call of "Elizabeth My Dear" seemed a little ungracious on the day that Her Majesty's hubby was poorly.

If The Stone Roses was a band who failed to fulfil their full potential (while paving the way for Britpop), the song that summed up this missed opportunity was "Fools Gold." The version they performed here felt even longer than the original 12-inch remix but never overstayed its welcome, showing that a white rock band can be truly funky in a very modern way. If only they had got over the squabbles that derailed them, who knows what a third album might have been like?

Instead this reunion feels a little like The Stone Roses in aspic. If they played any new material it passed me by. And yet somehow this never felt like a band just trundling out the hits and banking the cheque. As Made of Stone director Shane Meadows has said, the Roses was one of those unique bands whose music became the soundtrack to people's lives. Who can blame them for wanting to replay that soundtrack once again?

Watch The Stone Roses perform "I Wanna Be Adored"

If only they had got over the squabbles that derailed them, who knows what a third album might have been like?

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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Comments

Was it just my hearing, where I was standing or was the sound so out of balance it was hard to detect John Squire's guitar most of the time? Completely ruined the event.

You're completely right. There were so many things wrong technically that only served to highlight the band's decline further.

Were you really there?? Not a lot of on-stage chemistry?? I think the fact any new material could have passed you by makes your your half arsed review look paper thin. Should have put your notepad down for a minute...

Yeah, I thought that comment was a bit daft as well. They looked absolutely buzzing by the end of it and seemed to be loving playing together.

I'm sorry but this did feel like a band turning up to bank a cheque. Ian Brown was subdued to the point of irritation, his vocals veering between poor and terrible. The bassist seemed to be playing a separate gig to everyone else most of the time. Only Squire and the drummer salvaged any musical integrity for the band, the best bits being purely instrumental. And what the hell did they do to Waterfall? Somebody at the back had turned the bass up for an instrumental bit, seemingly forgot to turn it down and this then became the most profound and irritating sound for about 4 minutes. That's completely ruined my favourite Roses song. I appreciate your sentiment in the "who can blame them for coming back?" sense but they were disappointing at best, terrible at worst.

This is maybe one of the worst reviews I've ever read mate! Talking about flares and health and safety...you muppet! Last night was epic no two ways about it. Do us all a favour and keep your miserable thoughts to yourself next time

I have to agree that this review is rather terrible. I was going to say exactly the same thing about the "health and safety" comment. Obviously this journalist was beyond the fringes of the spirit that encapsulated 45,000 others.

The "I'm all out of tune" comment was massively banal. Not to mention calling 'Elizabeth my Dear' "ungracious" because old Phil is "poorly"- I nearly died, honestly. You'll have to down your notepad and up your game on the next one I'm afraid. Why not mingle amongst the crowd tonight instead of dwelling over witless criticism on your Asda jot-pad.

I'm going to the gig tonight. I actually quite liked the 'I'm all out of tune' thing and will probably sing it tonight!

Pure quality - loved it all night long. FP a great gig venue too. Please come back next year lads!

I wish I could say this was the best gig I have been to, sadly, for me, it was awful. Having loved The Stone Roses for as long as I can remember, last night was simply a huge disappointment. I left early, and hearing Ian Brown as I exited, wail out Fools Gold, my favourite tune of all time, just added to my upset. Interestingly I didn't hear a single person at breakfast at the hotel this morning, which was full to the brim of Rose's fans, talking about their night. That says it all!

wow, yet another review that doesn't linger on Ian Brown's shortcomings...I don't understand the silence over this...other band's would be crucified for having such a tuneless singer! last night at FP, Brown butchered the band's back catalogue, people around me in the crowd were laughing out loud at the low points - Made of Stone and Waterfall were real lowpoints from Brown.

although i agree with some of the comments i think who ever was doing the sound should be sacked as it kept dipping in and out.I thought Ian brown's vocals actually weren,t that bad compared to what i,ve heard on u-tube! but to say reni, squires ,and mani were no good i completely disagree as i think these 3 actually make the stone roses the band they are!! I would just like to add that although i expect a certain amount of horseplay at a gig I think the way people acted in the crowd-especially at the front was an absolute disgrace-I went to listen to the music not to have to spend my time trying to stay on my feet-idiots!

Agreed on all points, Brown sang as well as I have heard him before, mani, squires and reni, awesome! But yes I got pushed over twice by complete idiots. I had to stop a guy from peeing on my mates leg, watch 1\2 the gig through a red flare and get covered in everybody else's beer. The gig was fantastic... Few idiots spoil a little but nothing away from the lads

I was at the gig last night and I have to disagree with most of you lot! The gig was awesome, Squire and mani was fantastic! Ian can be forgiven for his voice, he was ndver the best singer but if you followed them the first time, you should know this. Great gig.. rant over

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