Review: The Stone Roses, Finsbury Park, N4

Ian Brown from the Stone Roses performs at Finsbury Park, London.

Ian Brown from the Stone Roses performs at Finsbury Park, London. - Credit: EMPICS Entertainment

With the citrus-sucking sunshine still casting a glaze over Finsbury Park on Friday evening, it might have seemed early at any other occasion for a headline act to appear. But considering the majority of this audience had waited for over two decades, there was little need for any more suspense.

Stone Roses at Finsbury Park

Stone Roses at Finsbury Park - Credit: Archant

Taking to the stage on the back of The Supreme’s ‘Stoned Love’, The Stone Roses were rapturously greeted as they launched into a raw, aching rendition of ‘I Wanna Be Adored’. Before Ian Brown had even sung a note, the crowd was already aping John Squire and Mani’s famous interplaying riffs in full voice – a trend that wouldn’t fade all night.

The delighted cheer for rarely played single ‘Elephant Stone’ just highlighted the diehard nature of this gathering. With flares setting off and legs on shoulders, it was the atmosphere of a festival with the close-knit community of a fanzine.

Ian Brown seemed fully aware of this and set about conducting the band through a series of impressively tight extended jams, backed by swirling psychedelic visuals and guitars especially designed by Damien Hirst.

The longevity of ‘Fools Gold’ can on record sometimes seem a tad stretched, but here it made perfect sense to a field already dancing. The way in which ‘Waterfall’ segued into ‘Don’t Stop’ continued such scenes – these were not individual songs, but one great, flowing soundtrack to a time most had experienced too long ago and some not at all.

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Yet for all the acid-house indebted rhythms, ‘Love Spreads’ and the recently revived ‘Breaking Into Heaven’ were also welcome reminders of the rock and roll that has always underpinned The Stone Roses’ ethos.

Above all else though, their unrivalled debut album produced some of the most anthemic songs ever written. In fact, anarchical ballad ‘Elizabeth My Dear’ was needed just to act as a port in the storm between ‘This is the One’, ‘Made of Stone’ and closer ‘I am the Resurrection’.

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There was little talk between songs and no traditional encore, but by then we had already experienced one. The Stone Roses left the stage 20 years ago –thankfully they have re-emerged with conquering force.

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