The line to pick up passes at Festival Hall is at its all time slowest. It appears anyone in Melbourne with even the vaguest of ties to The Stone Roses, the music industry, the venue or just about anyone else affiliated with tonight’s gig, is currently begging, pleading and offering their first born to get in. The Stone Roses survived drugs, excess, the ‘90s and years of acrimony – the big question is, can they make it through their reunion tour?
With the audience barely seated, Ian Brown, Gary “Mani” Mounfield, Alan “Reni” Wren and John Squires take their places and with nothing but its rolling bassline as an introduction, “I Wanna Be Adored” begins the anticipated show.
Looking around the room, Festival Hall has never seemed so small. The song reaches its climax in a true goosebump moment as waves of punters chant, “I wanna, I wanna, I wanna be adored”, along with Brown before bursting into hysterical applause.
Considering the fact that for a very long time the idea of a Stone Roses reunion seemed hopeless, the delight emanating from the crowd is tangible.
“Sugar Spun Sister” and “Sally Cinnamon” have the masses dancing as Brown follows suit, moving with a nodding-gut thrust-tambourine combo. Sang with gusto by both Brown and audience alike, “Ten Storey Love Song” is transformed into a gargantuan football chant, the kind that has strangers slinging their arms over each other shoulders and bellowing along.
The crowd cheers constantly throughout the set, not just at the end of each song, but consistently before, during and after. You get the feeling that The Stone Roses could stand here and recite bad beat poetry and still be begged for an encore.
Suddenly, there it is – that bass riff. The one responsible for drunken late night masses embarrassing themselves on dance floors all over the world for the last 20 or so years. A ripple of excitement followed by pure mayhem spreads around the venue as “Fools Gold” blasts its way into being.
Everyone is on their feet and even security have to give up trying to herd people dancing in the aisles back to their seats. The song is only let down by a gratuitous Squire solo that quickly goes from being a sharp punctuation to an unnecessary whine.
“Made Of Stone” sees punters hoisting themselves onto each other’s shoulders and indulging in another mass sing-along, many nostalgically clad in bucket hats. From the back of the stage, Reni pounds away with his face shielded under a beanie. Perhaps not the best choice of headwear in a heatwave, but just as a rolling stone gathers no moss, a Stone Rose can do whatever he wants.
Perhaps it’s memories wrapped in MDMA, maybe it’s the pure joy of having them back, but somehow this feels like the happiest gig ever. “Love Spreads” doesn’t hit all of the right marks vocally, but at this stage it doesn’t matter.
Just when it seems that the night is in danger of becoming too much of a watery-eyed walk down memory lane, Brown throws a tanty during “I Am The Resurrection” and upends a bin over an aggressive security guard who gets a little rough with a female concertgoer. Strangely enough, this seems like a fitting end to the set.
While not a flawless performance, the band certainly didn’t hold anything back and could hardly be accused of going through the motions for the (rumoured) hefty payday. Whatever the reasons behind their reunion, they refuse to trade on their name alone and can still produce a show as enjoyable as it is memorable