The Stone Roses - Madison Square Garden - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

The Stone Roses - Madison Square Garden

by Jim Cunnar Rating:10 Release Date:2013-05-06

Being a Stone Roses fan on the American side of the pond can be a real challenge. As massive as the band is in their native Britain, they never achieved the status over here of their proteges Oasis or Blur. That being said, American fans are as rabid for the Stonies as our Mancurian brothers and sisters. 

The story of The Stone Roses doesn't need to be rehashed. So much has been written about the rise and fall and rise again of this band whose sound fused blues, rock, psychedelia and pop. The disconnected but brilliant guitarist, the drummer and bass player whose foundation of groove is the backbone of their iconic sound and the pissy, attitude oozing frontman who glues the whole thing together. 

In 2013,  they played their first North American gig in 18 years at Coachella Festival in California. What was supposed to be a triumphant return ended up being disastrous. Ian was way off-key that night, and it was a late set, starting after midnight. Reports said that they hemorrhaged fans as the set went on.

Who knows, maybe there were some nerves involved. Maybe it was the festival choice. Bottom line is, the band didn't bring its A-game, and neither did the crowd. No one knew if they'd ever come back, or if they needed to. America had lost touch with them.

This year, singles 'All for One' and 'Beautiful Thing' were released, their first new music in 20 years. When the summer tour schedule came out, they announced they would be playing one North American show, this time at New York City's venerable Madison Square Garden. America was going to have a second chance to see our musical heroes.

Thursday night, redemption was served. The crowd was as diverse as the city itself, and after looking around at the sold-out crowd, I could understand why they chose NYC as the place to try their American comeback once more.

There was Paul, who brought his daughters Phoebe and Olivia from London. Junie and Lulu, fellow indie music soulmates representing the locals. Ray from California, and me from Chicago. It was a melting pot of different ages, generations, geographies and ethnicities. We, as a collective, were the everyman and The Stone Roses were our fearful leaders.

Ian was dressed in baggy trousers and a long sleeve shirt that said Own Brain, his salty short bowl cut taking nothing away from his chiseled cheekbones. John stood stage left, draped in his long hair and beard, his leather jacket amplifying his cool factor. Mani was stage right, in white button-down and jeans, and Reni was behind the kit, swapping bucket hats every couple of songs like a Janet Jackson wardrobe change.

Coming on shortly after 9pm with no smoke or fanfare, they went straight into 'I Wanna Be Adored', then 'Elephant Stone' and 'Sally Cinnamon'. Every song was a sing-along song, with the crowd ready to provide support should Ian's voice need it. We weren't going to let him down, but this time, he was spot on. He was in key, and sang with such confidence and conviction. This was not going to be a Coachella repeat, from either the band or the audience.

The highlight of the night was an epic version of 'Waterfall', spanning seven minutes and including the reverse vocals delivered perfectly by Brown. Closing with 'This is the One' and 'I Am the Resurrection', the raucous crowd screamed along, drawing a cascade of smiles as the band looked at each other, almost in disbelief.

As the lights came up and the crowd slowly filtered out, the new single 'Beautiful Thing' played over the PA system. A large gathering of fans who didn't want the night to end stayed on the floor of MSG dancing and hugging. As the throngs exited, a soccer cheer broke out from the front of the pack, leading to thousands of us cheering along and hugging and high fiving, not letting the celebration end.  

America redeemed itself, and so did The Stone Roses. It was an epic show, one for the ages, because the boys picked the perfect city and venue for their Second Coming, and we were given the chance to respond in kind. The Stone Roses came full-circle last night, a resurrection of sorts. Those of us who were lucky enough to be there will never forget it. 

Comments (1)

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Great review. I'm not keen on the new stuff but I saw them 4 years ago and they were great, much better than expected.

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