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Heroes Return: The Stone Roses, Manchester 15/06/16

I was privileged the other night to go and see The Stone Roses performing their first gig in Manchester for 3 years. My first time seeing them.

My mate Jim had managed to get some tickets at a good price, and to make things easier I was invited to stay at his home in Kearsley with his wife Emma and Benny the labrador, where I was made to feel very welcome.

Tram from Radcliffe into town, then after a couple of Pints and some food at the Marble Arch we set off on foot to the Etihad Stadium. We got to the venue, got in reasonably quickly, and were greeted by the dulcet tones of Public Enemy. Don't believe the hype, not my cup of tea!

The whole build-up was very much a case of home boys coming home. Massive levels of excitement at work, I'd had the chance for tickets on Sunday night, which I declined because I have things to do on a Sunday.

So Wednesday it was. After the noise of Public Enemy they appeared, almost on time, just after 9. The opening chords of 'I Wanna Be Adored' sounded as the band appeared and the phones started taking the pictures. Fantastic start.

And then it carried on. Jim suggested moving to the seats in the lower level where there were some gaps, a good idea as neither him nor me are the tallest of people and with the usual scenario where tall people always seem to get to the front so us short 'uns struggle to see.

We moved up, we could see better. The tunes just kept on coming, the crowd knew them all. Only 'All For One' is new, so it was basically a greatest hits show. What a band, an incredibly hirsute John Squire imperious on guitar, Mani looking like a night club bouncer on bass, and Reni whacking the skins as if his life depended on it.

We were treated to 1 hour and 40 minutes of some of the best tracks of the last 30 years or so; 'Fools Gold', 'Waterfall', 'I Am The Resurrection', 'This Is The One' and the rest. Big anthems, every one of them. Ian Brown - sporting a t-shirt saying 'Own Brain', think about it - struggled with his voice though as the evening wore on.

The crowd weren't bothered, though, as their returning heroes had come home. The home-grown Mancs loved it, we all loved it. A band with a very small back catalogue ruling the roost. But, having listened to their stuff again this weekend, I have to say it really is some of the best produced in this country since I started listening to music....


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