The Stone Roses stirred a magical atmosphere on Saturday night at the Etihad - Ben Smith was there to witness.
Last updated: 22nd Jun 2016
Image: The Stone Roses
Selling out four consecutive dates at upwards of an 60,000 capacity is unprecedented; especially for a band who've been plying a near identical set-list since 1989.
When the run of 'comeback' dates were teased via the iconic medium of lemon, it was imperative that they return with a new hand. Promise of new material followed and 'All For One' delivered - the first fresh The Stone Roses song in 22 years.
It was widely met with mixed reviews due to its fairly linear song-writing, albeit with Squire pulling another sharp-shooting riff out of the top drawer. 'A Beautiful Thing' soon followed, sailing distinctly closer to their baggy, psychedelic sound that served as an off-shoot to acid-house during the turn of the nineties.
Although the latter was only blared over the speakers after the band had cleared the stage, 'All For One' - placed perfectly after a sprawling rendition of 'Fools Gold' - proved anyone who had doubted the validity of it working live.
Avoiding a repeat of the disappointment that flowed from The Second Coming, the new numbers from arguably Manchester's finest only served to enhance a near-perfect live set-list. It was proven by every soul inside Manchester's Etihad Stadium echoing each and every word word back at Ian Brown; louder than any rendition of City's 'Blue Moon' could ever reach.
Inside the arena, a seemingly fit-for-purpose concert venue with seating that sloped seamlessly onto the pitch, a special atmosphere near-impossible to put into words erupted from the first to the very last minute.
The opening bass chords of 'I Wanna Be Adored' prompted a sea of flares across the standing pitch; an almighty roar that refused to simmer tailed each song. The opening salvo contained the forever joyous 'Elephant Stone'; 'Sally Cinnamon' bellowed word for word and cult-classic 'Mersey Paradise' merging the M62 divide.
A Roses set-list does not waver in any form - even lesser frequenting numbers like 'Begging You' and 'Where Angels Play' accelerated the atmosphere contributed by each bucket-hat clad silhouette perched in-front.
During a moment of reprieve the crowd chanted "Ian Brown, Ian Brown". He imposed himself as the primary draw superbly, joined by Reni dressed in his iconic long-sleeved Brazil t-shirt and white bucket hat battered the drums centre-stage while a bearded Squire and mesmeric Mani flanked either side - each member operated with poised purpose as if they'd never went away.
The chiming 'Waterfall' hushed in unison never fails to elate; more so when it bleeds into a tail-end flurry that summons 'Made Of Stone', causing limbs and beer to shower the air while neighbouring strangers throw arms over shoulders. Keeping to code, there's no encore from the Roses.
Closing numbers 'This Is The One' and 'I am The Resurrection' defined a unforgettable Manchester tour de force, a further bookmark in its glowing musical history.
The Stone Roses are more than a band, they're the focal point of a pivotal stage in their city's musical past, a band that appeal beyond decades and lead their own bucket-hat clad sub-culture. Ultimately they're timeless.
When the music finally seized, each band member hugged it in to rapturous applause: the performance was flawless.