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The Stone Roses at Heaton Park - As Good As Spike Island?

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When I was about 17 myself and a gang of mates from Loreto College (Manchester) borrowed a builder's blue transit van and on 27 May 1990, made the 'pilgrimage' to Spike Island in Widnes, to see the Stone Roses.

From the hilarious journey in the back of the van, (much Malibu and pineapple... and other 'stuff' was consumed), to watching quite possibly one of the most influential rock bands to come out of the UK for decades; we all concluded that Spike Island was a 'one off', a magical experience and totally unrepeatable.

When we arrived at the Spike Island site, full of giddiness and excitement, I was stopped by the cops, all of whom seemed to have angry drug enforcement Alsatian dogs I recall (!). I was smuggling in a bottle of Pernod liqueur - quite possibly one of the vilest drinks ever created. But at the time, we thought it was pretty rock n roll, particularly when mixed with Ribena...

The police officer confiscated the Pernod (little did he know what else I had hidden in my mini-rucksack) and thankfully gave me my entrance ticket back. But in the delay, I had lost my mates.

Not to worry, the fantastic vibe and people there that day meant that I had a blast and did eventually link up with my little gang. We did what Manc kids do best - we danced, we partied, we laughed a lot!

It was for all us a real 'coming of age' experience that day and it ended with, naturally, a bit of a rave in the car park and several more on the way home. In all honesty, I have no idea if I actually slept in the van that night or not?! How on earth did I get home...?

Anyway, the Stone Roses eventually split and, like ourselves, went their own ways. Rumours of feuds ensued, confirming that a Stone Roses reunion would NEVER happen.

The chances of ever seeing the band reunited would be as likely as the Pope winning the Eurovision Song Contest.

Fast forward to Friday 29 June, over 20 years later (jeez I feel old typing that) and the 'Roses' are playing at Heaton Park (practically in my backyard - I own a house just a short walk from there). Along with the other 75,000 fans that night, I really had to pinch myself it was happening.

I was invited along to the first night of three and was lucky enough to be in VIP - what a contrast to the transit van and Malibu eh.

In my heart, I went along thinking that the event (which had attracted world-wide media attention) could easily be a real let-down. Big money, big venue and the likes of Brad Pitt rumoured to be on the guest list.

Surely, the whole thing would lack soul and real credibility??

Well, I'm so glad to say that I was not disappointed. Conveying the loved-up vibe and the amazing energy of the night is not easy. To use a cliché, 'you had to be there'. That, for me, says it all.

Well done all involved, it rocked! And well done Manchester, we know how to party!