The Stone Roses - Live In Manchester - Will J. / K.C. Johnstone

(Will Johnstone)

I am on a night out with a new friend, after a day in Glasgow Green and night out at Mango where we ended up jamming with the house band and setting the place alight with a rendition of Peter Green's 'Oh Well'. The night ends in madness with me ending up in his neighbor's flat, not having a scoob where I am or how I got there. I had forgotten where he lived too, so I ended up wandering around the Gorbals looking for somewhere to charge my phone up to call him at about 9am, wearing no shoes, still drunk. I am South of South Side, walking the streets like a reflection of myself beneath my feet whilst trying to make it topside again. The Gorbals used to be one of those parts of town heavily revered but my experience here over the last 2 days has proved to me that the place is full of really genuinely cool people, such as the good people at the Laundrette who were kind enough to offer me a charger to call my friend. I realize at that point, that I don't actually have his number but I manage to get him on a call through FB Messenger. He just laughs and comes to rescue me at the front door. We spend a couple hours coming to from drink induced comas, then decide to head back out for more madness.

As we navigated our way from a really random trip to the park through the old Botanic House to a house party, to another party, to a pub, to another party my new friend suggested heading back into the city as his friend was doing a set in Sleazy's. We were walking it. On the way my friend says 'Hold up, I just need to drop in and see another mate before we go into town'. Cue a chance, and fleeting meeting with the man I am just about to introduce to you. At first we were all just a bunch of wrecked melters having a laugh and trying to coax him to come into town with us. At this point he was a little weary from work and was staying in. We parted company and continued on our walk into town and had a crazy amazing night out, but that is not the story here, so...

Fast forward 3 weeks. I am at work with another friend over in the West End and the weather outside is beyond epic. We have been caged up all day in a hot kitchen, sweating profusely. We decide we are going to Kelvingrove Park to sit in the sun and unwind after work and a couple friends I haven't seen in quite a while are there waiting for us. We arrive to find them sitting in a really nice spot and with them, is THIS GUY! The guy I had randomly met with my new friend that I mentioned earlier who we had tried to coax out on our night out with us. He looks over and we burst out laughing. Random as fuck. So we end up partying back at his later on and talking music, guitars, gigs and writing. As a result, we end up jamming and gigging together over the next couple of months and start talks about forming a band. One night, after a few jars in town, he tells me he is going to see The Stone Roses in Manchester and that he would like to write a piece for it. I suggest NHC to him and then this happened...

It is my privilege to introduce to you, a great musician, good friend, and now journalist colleague, Kieran Coats...

A Beautiful Thing

Dedicated to Ryan “Coshy” Cosgrove

BOOM! It hits me hard... I made it. I’m here. WE are here! Slowly my eyes open, I can feel the energy flowing, building up as it starts. Thousands of people gathered in harmonious peacefulness celebrating a genius to which some credit as inspiration, aspiration and medication, from all walks of life and ranging from young teens who listened in on their Mum and Dad's playlists, to the Mums and Dads who grew up through it all to a few Gran and Grandads who appreciated their son's and daughter's music and stole the copy tapes now and again for a wee listen. It is a beautiful thing that this thing MUSIC can bring people together as one, without any negativity, even if only for a moment. This was no exception.

For me this wasn’t as long a journey as some of the others out there but I would still like to think that I appreciated them enough to justify me being there. See, I wasn’t as big a fan as some who didn’t make it, mainly in my mind was my mate Ryan. It was Ryan who introduced me to The Stone Roses nearly 15 years ago. I’ll never forget the shock in his face when I told him I had never heard of them before. The look of disbelief will never leave me. So as normal a few of my mates come round to mine that night after dinner, and we go about our usual routine, set up the PlayStation, set up the spliffs, but before I can stick any CD on Ryan shoves these two albums on my desk “Get them on mate, you need to hear this!“. So as instructed I pick up the first CD and stick it on. It never left my CD player for weeks.                ..

As the band make their way onto that stage I can feel that surge, a burst of energy that’s been sitting idly, patiently waiting almost dormant, waiting for this precise moment and it does not fail. What you need to understand is, I never had any intention of going to Manchester, it was only when the last minute opportunity was thrown up in conversation that I grabbed it without hesitation. Who the fuck wouldn’t take it? Life’s all about opportunities and if you don’t take the chance you’ll regret it forever. Thank fuck I took this one! Within the first few bars of the opening track I’m transported back all those years ago, back to that place all over again. I can feel the hangover that’s been dragging me down all day quickly dissipate inside me as the music rushes in through my ears, bouncing off every corner of my brain, lifting every hair on my neck, my back tingling and my feet fighting to move to this wondrous beat, this most glorious of sound. As this realisation comes over me that I no longer feel like crawling in a ball and hiding in a dark corner, I notice my hand sub-consciously digging in my pocket for the bag of pills I had, it was at this point I had a moment of clarity and quickly withdrew my hand. The music was enough. The music was more than enough as the first verse of “I wanna be adored “ kicks in and the choir of the crowd sings out. That surge of energy like a bullet, speeds through me and back out joining in alongside my brothers and sisters. Kindred spirits in this, our holy church, for music is our religion, and we are all its people.

Hit after hit is played out to an arena of starved hungry fans feeding off of this beautiful feast, everyone cheering, singing, hugging each other, joining in with strangers in massive huddles singing to each other and everyone around them. With every new hit, new memories are born and old remembered. New friendships made and old ones rekindled. For me growing up over the last 15 years, thinking I would never see this live even back in 2011 when it was released that the band would reunite, I never thought I’d see the day after missing all previous chances. I never thought I would actually make it, to be in this place at this exact moment... I can only be thankful. Round half way it happens, I hear it. My favourite song and I know it’s probably an obvious choice but I don’t give a flying monkey's spare yin! I fucking love it! The guitar blows me away, and although it's not a very complicated riff it is still all powerful. I close my eyes and let it take me away, back down memory lane. Images flashing through my mind of house parties, tent parties, garden parties... A lot of fucking parties! But... All really good times, times I never want to forget with people I will never forget.

The choir starts again and without hesitation I join in and “Waterfall” starts. I stop for a minute half way through the track to take in this atmosphere, feel the energy, and as I turn to the stage, for the first time it’s strange I don’t see a group of old men banging out some of their old hits... I see group of re-energized musicians up jamming with their mates doing what they do best. I see it, the smile on their faces that isn’t made up, isn’t fake, this couldn’t get any more real if a fat fucking pig flew over Manchester and shit on the city mayor. As this slight break inside the track creeps closer to the end I see them all laugh to each other, as much as the crowd give out our energy, it makes it all the more, knowing and hearing that these guys aren’t just enjoying playing their music, they're up there playing with their mates again and that is an energy rarely seen or heard.

After “waterfall” we are treated to “Don’t Stop”, “Elizabeth My Dear” and the amazing 15 minute live version of “Fool’s Gold” including the half-time jam from the band again! Showing us that although some may portray these men as some sort of musical Demi-Gods sent to us by the Gods of Rock & Roll, they are but men who delight us with their genius of riffery and chorus! “All For One” starts and this is the one track that I was very sceptical about. Not from my own opinion as I was one of the few who loved the track upon its release, but I did see the reaction it got from some fans. This was what I was very keen to see, the reaction, whether it would dull down an already very hyped crowd or would it fuel the fire? The whole place erupted in synchronized chorus “all for one and one for all, if we all join hands and build a wall”... For all the nae sayers and non-believers, you my friends were wrong! This is yet another fine example of just how amazing these guys are, even after 33 years since they first appeared on the music scene. The end nears as the sun sets behind the stadium. I'm almost drawn back to the reality that this cannot last forever, although, given half a chance I'm sure most of my fellow compadres would take up full residence and never leave.

 I'd just like to say, that I'm not here to go through every track to criticise the music in anyway. This article is only intended to give you the reader, a small insight into the atmosphere but what a way to end the experience... The last five tracks “Made Of Stone”, “She Bangs The Drums”, “Breaking Into Heaven”, “This Is The One” and last of all but not least “I Am The Resurrection”. All great, all amazing, all feed a crowd still hungry for more of this beautiful thing. The lights go up, the band stop and as usual they take their bow, thank the crowd and make their way off stage to ear blistering, drum shattering cheers from an ever thankful crowd. Blissfully forgetting work the next day and making their way back home or for the majority, to the pub. Myself, I had a long bus journey home the next day, my plan was a munch and back to the hotel. We floated with the crowd through the streets of Manchester still high off of the music, casually chanting odd lines from any song that came into our head, bumping into strangers, chatting and sharing experiences from our night. After standing in a half-mile queue outside McDonalds for about a good 45 minutes we made our way to the taxi rank round the corner. It was there I was truly reminded we weren’t that far from home, while in the queue waiting on our taxi I heard this voice from nowhere “Stevie, Stevie, whur tha fuck are ye? I don’t fuckin know… naw.. naw, wait the noo! Mate, mate, whit street's'is? Am fuckin loast!”... To which a very well-dressed gentleman replied, “I'm very sorry, I didn’t understand a word of that”. As you can imagine our damsel in distress marched away shouting “Fuckin useless, ye wud hink am speak'n ano'er fuckin langwidge!”. As much as I loved the music and all that had happened I couldn’t have laughed any harder if I tried. This topped off what could only be explained as one hell of a weekend and if I could have any wise words of wisdom to anyone reading this (well done for making it this far!) they would be... Go see The Roses. Go feel the energy. You will not be disappointed for it is... a beautiful thing.