It’s the first time The Stone Roses have played together since 1995. Announcing their reunion in 2011, their highly anticipated shows sold out across the country, the Sydney Future sideshow included. Having only released two records and a handful of singles and B-sides, their repertoire was limited; it was interesting to see how they’d fill their set.
On arriving, I was under the false impression that this gig had attracted an eclectic mix of people (more on this later). When Zane Lowe took to the stage, the Hordern was still remarkably empty, but you gotta give it to Lowe for taking it all in his stride. The BBC radio presenter was a wizard on the turntables, dropping genius reggae mixes alongside pop hits like Calvin Harris’ Sweet Nothing and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ Thrift Shop. Lowe was admirably staunch despite the crowd remaining largely unmoved, with Lowe urging them to come forward and “touch a fucking human being”. Perhaps it was the venue, or maybe it was the demographic, but Lowe had a tough crowd to please.
When the British DJ left the stage, the Hordern had finally filled up, with punters sufficiently drunk and sweaty. The band strode on stage, with Ian Brown saying, “Good evening Sydney, and to anyone not called Sydney”, by way of greeting. Good one. The familiar bass line to I Wanna Be Adored filled up the whole space to raucous cheers and a 5,500 strong sing-a-long.
Some might’ve been worried that The Stone Roses hadn’t paced themselves, dropping their biggest hit first, but with their eponymous debut lauded by NME as the Greatest British album of all time, these fears were unfounded. Ian Brown stood on stage shaking his sleigh bells like a rock god. It is my belief that if anyone else had done it they would’ve looked like a twat.
This was also around the same time that I noticed that the audience members weren’t so diverse after all. The realisation that I was stuck in one of the most terrifying mosh pits I had ever experienced dawned on me. Over zealous and just absolutely hammered men – while busting out endearing/interesting/violent dance moves – crushed everyone within a 2cm vicinity. Hearing them passionately call out “I wanna be adored” was also something.
Another stand-out was Fool’s Gold, with Mani’s cool bass line and John Squire absolutely killing it on guitar. A man in the front kept on repeating, “guitar man, guitar, guitar, it’s all about the guitar”. Despite his obvious intoxication, no truer words have been said. The multi-talented artist was in his element, owning the stage.
The set drew heavily from their eponymous debut: only Love Spreads and Ten Storey Love Song from Second Coming made the cut. It was a greatest hits compilation that turned the whole Pavilion into a mammoth karaoke night, with a bunch of frenzied, sweaty and devoted fans.
Despite rumours of rivalry and esoteric rock’n’roll bla bla, the band dynamic was natural and comfortable. The Manchester four-piece exuded rock’n’roll from every pore, especially Reni with his iconic bucket hat. Closing the show with She Bangs the Drums and I am the Resurrection, the band embraced, held hands and bowed as a wave of nostalgia and sadness at the band’s departure hit the crowd. What everyone had witnessed was a long-awaited reunion of four of the best musicians to come out of Britain – The Stone Roses had successfully left (or renewed) their mark in the people’s hearts.