It's still a beautiful thing after all these years
Age is a horrible thing. It creeps up on you, kicks you in the small of your back and runs away laughing.
Yours truly spent most of last weekend in Manchester watching The Stone Roses blow everyone’s head off at a cross between thunderous hero worship and a 60,000-strong early 90s rave.
Friday night was spent in the sanctuary of the seats with Lancaster mates but on Saturday me and three college buddies, who were in our prime back when the Roses were in theirs, found ourselves standing right in front of the stage alongside thousands of teenagers who weren’t even born when the band released their last album in 1994.
After two hours of jumping up and down and bellowing the words to all the songs while breathing in the fumes of dozens of hand-held distress flares that burn at 1,600C held aloft by drugged-up kids sat on their mates’ shoulders, it felt like we’d been run over by a car.
Daughter #1 had been dragged along, initially under protest, to see what her old man had been banging on about all her life and to complete her post-GCSE education. She sat with her boyfriend to the side of the stage and texted: “It was good.”
Now in 16-year-old girlspeak that’s a five-star, 1,000-word review in the NME. Her boyfriend said it was “insane”.
The last hour of every Roses gig I’ve seen feels like the Earth going up in flames during the apocalypse. Even daughter #1 was impressed but was taken aback by the band’s casual appearance. “They’re dead scruffy,” she said. “They look like they’ve just walked out of a charity shop.”
There were a load of afterparties in Manchester after the show. Afterparties, are you kidding? After 120 minutes of absolute bedlam I wanted to be loaded into the back of an ambulance, placed in a deep bath filled with warm, bubbling Ibuleve and left to die in peace.
The next day, once I could stand up straight and walk properly, I asked the boss (who like daughter #2 flatly refused tickets for the shows) how rock stars can do what they do on stage and then go out and do it again the following night. She said one word, and I’m not suggesting for one minute the Roses do this, “Drugs”.
Still, The Stone Roses are what the world’s been waiting for. Even after all these years.