Thursday, 24 May 2012
Warrington Parr Hall
I got in from work yesterday and opened my emails. One read- 'The Stone Roses are playing a free concert tonight at Warrington Parr Hall (capacity 760). Wristbands for the concert are available from the box office from 4.00pm to people bringing a record sleeve, cd inlay or band T-shirt.'
Nayayers should suspend their cynicism or stop reading at this point.
At 8.40pm I was standing in the rapidly filling Parr Hall, an old concert venue with a high stage and a seated balcony round three sides. I have never been to a gig where there was such an air of unexpected excitement. The presence of Cressa and John Robb and various other faces, and crew with Roses wristbands, making it clear this was actually going to happen. The bass speaker stacks were topped off with a collection of Toby jugs. At 9.30 four Stone Roses took the stage, Reni included (despite recent internet rumours). I Wanna Be Adored, Mersey Paradise, Sally Cinnamon, Made Of Stone, Sugar Spun Sister, Where Angels Play, Shoot You Down, Tightrope, Waterfall, She Bangs The Drums, Love Spreads (with a slightly ill advised Ian Brown rap at the end, Paid In Full). Mani grinning throughout, Ian Brown bouncing round the stage, Squire playing those guitar lines, the crowd drowning out the band at times. The love and energy from the crowd was stunning; the only non-smiley note all night was Liam Gallagher's arrival on the balcony to boos and jeers. All those late 80s truisms about positivity, and the band and the crowd are the same, and we're all on the same side, flooding back briefly. It's still The Roses- if you want pitch perfect recreations of songs, go and watch Adele. But it's beautiful from where I was standing. I'm still not entirely convinced it actually happened, despite my croaky voice and sweaty wristband.
At 10.25 they finished, hugging each other stage front, standing hand-in-hand and arms in the air, taking a bow and then off ('We'll be back' Ian said, though not tonight), and after a few minutes of milling around before we were sure there wasn't an encore, we were spewed into Warrington's now chilly streets, middle aged men and women who'd just seen something they could only remember and dream about, teenagers who've just seen something they could only previously read about.
You'll have to forgive the fanboy enthusiasm folks- my 21st century world weariness may return tomorrow, but right now I can say 'Warrington Parr Hall- I was there'.