What the Stone Roses’ reunion means to a 20-year-old music obsessive

I was 16 when I first heard ‘She Bangs the Drums’ and my final year in school was looming. I’d read about The Stone Roses in NME several times and finally decided to see what all the fuss was about, and when I did I was hooked. Similarly to when I discovered The Smiths two years before, no one in my class knew who these weird, old bands I was talking about were.

I listened to The Stones Roses for two months straight, the September and October of my Leaving Cert year was a blur of psychedelic surreal music. I was never without my mp3 and nine times out of ten I had my headphones in. What’s the point of listening to people talk when I can be listening to incredible music instead?

Probably the most infuriating thing about finding out about bands that I swiftly became infatuated with was that most of them had split up and, in the cases of Joy Division and Nirvana, the frontmen were dead, so the likelihood of ever seeing these bands play live was slim. Very, very slim. It was a fact that I begrudgingly accepted, and soothed my very melodramatic teenage pain by listening to The Stone Roses over and over again and imagining that I was watching them play live.

What followed was a half-hearted interest in Ian Brown’s solo career, but I was always acutely aware of the fact that it would never compare to The Stone Roses. It wasn’t just about the music, it was about John Squire’s inimitable artwork that adorned their albums (and his guitar), the image of four Mancunian boys done good and Ian Brown’s unquestionable confidence. They didn’t need loud, overbearing guitars to get their point across, simply all that they were, and all that they could be, was The Stone Roses.

I don’t need to tell you about the utter excitement and elation I felt when The Stone Roses reunion was announced; unlike other bands that I’m completely fanatical about like The Smiths, I actually really wanted to see The Stone Roses reunite and there is no doubt about their capabilities. I still haven’t managed to get a ticket for their Dublin concert in the Phoenix Park, the one that Ian Brown’s t-shirt was advertising when The Stone Roses played Warrington Parr Hall last week, but that doesn’t matter. I’ll eventually get one (I have a strange knack for getting tickets for sold out concerts a few days before the show) and then I’ll get to see the second coming.

The reunion means a lot to people who were around during The Stone Roses’ peak in the 80s and will get to relive the experience, but it also means a lot to another generation of music fans who weren’t fortunate enough to be there the first time. We’ll finally get the chance to see The Stone Roses live, we weren’t there for the birth but we can say that we were there for the resurrection.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. From the Home of Sir Henry Newbolt
    Jun 04, 2012 @ 19:16:44

    Nice piece. Please, get yourself a ticket for one of the summer shows. I’m off to Heaton Park in a few weeks, and was fortunate to see them twice on the Second Coming tour, and unfortunate enough to see their “final” show at Reading ’96. If you want to experience the Roses at their live peak, check out the bootlegs for the shows in Belfast and Glasgow in June 1990. If you get a ticket, don’t be heartbroken when you realise the stories of Ian Brown not being able to sing live are true; instead revel in the fact that they’re revered as much as they are despite that fact. And anyone who doesn’t get it, well, they just don’t get it. Good luck with the tickets.


    • runningawayquickly
      Jun 04, 2012 @ 20:13:31

      Thanks! From what I read Reading ’96 seemed to be a disaster, so in some ways I’m glad I wasn’t aware of them back then. And I’ll definitely look up those bootlegs, it’d be great to see what they were like as a live band back then. Managed to secure a ticket to the Phoenix Park gig just over an hour ago, so it looks like I’ll be there!

      I’ve watched some footage of Ian Brown signing live in recent years and it’s not the best, but just to see the band back together will be an experience in itself. Thank you so much for commenting, and enjoy Heaton Park!


  2. From the Home of Sir Henry Newbolt
    Jun 04, 2012 @ 20:49:27

    You’re welcome. A couple of other things: first, if you haven’t already done so, check out the Blackpool show from ’89 on dvd. A chance to “see” the band at their peak, and there are precious few other films of any 89/90 shows other than clips here and there floating around. Second, I’d be inclined to avoid reviews and (especially) social media ‘opinion’. According to those who go, the shows will either be the best thing ever or a total disaster, with no middle ground. Ignore them now you can see for yourself; doing so will only heighten you anticipation. Glad you got the tickets. Enjoy.


    • runningawayquickly
      Jun 06, 2012 @ 11:20:03

      Is that the DVD that was part of the special edition of The Stone Roses album? I’ll have to track it down. Thank you for the recommendation! That’s really good advice, though I am hoping The Stone Roses will be better than merely okay. So far I’ve only read positive things about the reunion and Warrington Parr Hall so it seems good so far. Thank you!


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