There's no-one in the world that can play like these three together...there's something happening musically like an undercarriage that's just there, that's magical...
So said Ian Brown at the announcement that the Stone Roses would be reforming, and I didn't dare to believe that it was true at the time, but I have seen the light, or I certainly lived in that dream. That undercarriage is the Reni-Mani axis of drums and bass, so vast is it in scope that any of John Squire's colour dotted adornments explode into the stratosphere or creep along the deepest sea of soul, and Ian Brown is a shamen, a soothsayer, a monkey king, Peter Piper or the Pied Piper, whatever myth you care to choose, the genius of the man is a presence that you will not conjure by discussing whether or not he can hit a B-flat.
I'm standing here/I really don't think you could know/that I'm in heaven when you smile.
It would not do justice to the Stone Roses' third night at Heaton Park to break down a set list, the songs that weren't played would have been musically watertight and carried the same electricity. Gems like What the World is Waiting For were still a ghost like presence from myth-world in the beach ball globe that Brown hurled into the crowd at the end of the gig to bounce around the outpouring of love and excitement that this crowd crackled with. Daybreak and other tracks screaming with live potential didn't get an outing, but the whole show could be described as a natural and seamless trance, no dance drugs needed, no clever slogans about 'baggy' or genre melding, but waves of energy and rythym that set people somewhere out of their own skins. This is still future music because it connects with the parts of us that do not change and it defies critique the same way African drums do.
This was religious in effect. It reduced many people to head shaking disbelief at times, hands covering faces or quiet and separated moments to themselves. Like religious ritual or syncopated drum happenings or Aboriginal stick clicking there was molten soul beneath this collection of classic songs, the well known lyrics and inducing guitar riffs of course harness people in to the relationships they have built with the pop songs over the years, but despite staying faithful to the form of the songs - letting 75,000 people howl along - this was a jam of transcendent proportions, and a reminder why the simplicity of two guitars and a drum kit is it's very own art form. I would go further than that with this collection of players to say it is a true national treasure, in a land that doesn't do political dissension brilliantly well, but wow does it do sub-culture.
Fool's Gold snaked into its own reptilian funk, supposed 'rock' song Love Spreads spat and mangled complete with Brown rapping, Mani and Reni seemed to drive the patterns of the light show like a future spun Brian Eno artwork, and the night careered like a never ending club high, relentless brilliance for near on 20 songs. This kind of transcendence may well be the last throes of a world that can be represented by three instruments and a voice, but it is timely proof that the formula exists for us all to step out from the clanking faltering remnants of our industrial islands and rediscover the ecstasies of being a human. I know that sounds overblown, but it really is that relevant and important, it wasn't all just a dream.
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