Roses in Manchester, 12/23/95

Review 1 | Review 2

From: Sujay Jhaveri <>
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 1996 12:30:35 -0500 (EST)

Hey all list members,

I just got back from England a couple of days ago, some 10 days after both epochal Manchester gigs so here goes.....

Firstly, those of you who saw the Roses in the States have NOT seen the band as they are now. They are phenomenally better than before.

To see the band make a triumphant return to their capital city was an experience not to be challenged.

Everyone has posted their reviews. Everyone says they are magic. Everyone points to John as the master. There are no disagreements but I think I am the only one who can be remotely qualified (apart from the band and crew) to make a judgment on the difference between the US (saw three gigs) and UK shows (saw 4 gigs).

Firstly, they are just plain better musically now. It's clear that they know how to play their set and play it backwards it they like. Ian's voice is more commanding than ever and he even picks up a harp once in a while. That was very amusing. However, the two big keys in this equation are the crowd and Robbie.

You cannot even possibly imagine watching a hometown partisan patriotic posse of 5,000 strong Manc mayhem makers jump up an down incessantly. If there are no words to be sung, they'll sing the guitar lines..."da de da de da de dee de da de da de dah dahhhhhh" ("adored" isn't it obvious?). Then, manic chants of "Manchester ra ra ra Manchester ra ra ra" in between all the songs with arms raised in the air. What a fucking vibe!!!

Resurrection was clearly the high point with 5000 pairs of arms shooting into the air as the truly uplifting chorus rings across the venue. White light shining into the crowd and white confetti falling from the ceiling. It cannot possibly be described......and my attempt here does not do justice.

In terms of specific songs, Good Times is finally the bluesy, picker upper it was meant to be as Robbie has figured out that speeding the song up continuously is the key to its success. Love Spreads has left its "drag-slowly-as-if-puking-into-a-bucket" sound it had in the US and now John has mastered it BEYOND perfection. Tears was not showcased in the US and it was not the highlight in my opinion although watching John change guitars and whack into that glorious Jimmy Page-esque solo was a sight.

Apart from all that, the true key to this band right now, apart from the clear Squire magnificence and Mani's mastery of a groove is Robbie Maddix. He has become the drummer the Roses always wanted. He was uncertain and unfamiliar with the Roses thing when he was in the States and it showed in the way he played. Tentative. Little or no groove. Pure straightforward 8 or 16-beats where nothing short of a pure funk jam would do. HOWEVER, he is all that and more now. He's seen the bloody light!!! I can safely say, without a shadow of a doubt that Robbie is on a par with Reni. Sure he may not be able to do Shoot You Down or Fools Gold like Reni but he is BRILLIANT!! BIG DIFFERENCE between May and December.

There's so much more I can say. The surreal nature of the four/five of them walking up onto the stage at Wembley. From my vantage point, just watching them walk from being mere lads, to climbing the stairs onto the stage, into superstars was just weird, for lasck of a better word.

Here's my rank of the shows:

1= Manchester Apollo 22/23
1= Manchester Apollo 22/23
3 Wembley Arena
4 Sheffield Arena
5 Webster Hall, New York
6 Manhattan City Ballroom, New York
7 Trocadero, Philadelphia

Make no mistake. The Roses are the best live act in the world. They are the best studio band in the world and given some level of productivity in the coming months, Great Britain will once again see the Stone Roses as the best band in the last twenty years.

Melodramatic? Damn right. I was there.

For those of you inclined, I delivered Altemessar, the tape we put together, to Simon Dawson, producer of Second Coming. Top man.

Feel free to mail me!!!



From: (Ccyeah)
Subject: manchester
Date: 3 Jan 1996 05:01:59 -0500

For everyone who went to see the Roses in the States.....FORGET IT!!! That was not the Stone Roses. What happened between these shores, the bicycle, the punch and whatever else resulted in a brand spanking NEW live performance.

Manchester was everything I could have ever hoped for. Imagine this, 5000 patriotic Manc twits jumping up and down in between songs screaming "Manchester ra ra ra, Manchester ra ra ra". You had to be there. The band themselves have taken their live act up a notch or two. Robbie is now THE MAN!!!!! He has transformed himself from being the uncertain, unfamiliar, rock-and-nothing-else drummer he was during the US tour into a funky groove-master with more splashes, rides, shimmers and shakes than (dare I say it) Reni. Yes, the ghost is forever dead. Robbie is it.

The set list was the same for all four gigs. John is just a freak genius. Nothing else can be said. He orchestrates the proceedings (yes, I read NME) in a manner I have never seen.......he IS the white Jimi Hendrix.

On the second night, someone in the crowd raised a 3foot by 2foot banner saying "RENI LIVES". Ian called for it and waved it around for a bit on stage during Daybreak. Mani called for Robbie to start to jam......he did. I think Simon piped in by turning up the drums. Well handled by all, I must say.

Backstage was very different from the States. After all, this was their hometown and it was packed with family and friends and at some stage, Liam Gallagher was about.

My friend and I had lunch with Simon the following day. That was very pleasant....nice little pub in the center of town.

The Sheffield gig was a bit of a let-down in terms of atmosphere but how could it ever match the Manchester Apollo. Backstage, Pulp, Charlatans, Black Grape and some others were about. It was alright. Ian wanted some Muddy Waters..........

The crowd at Wembley were magnificent in comparison to Sheffield and it became clear to me that this band has truly reached their pinnacle at this stage of their careers. Forget the fact that you think the first album is better. Forget the five years. Forget Reni leaving. This quintet can blow ANYONE away in a live gig (that is an honest unbiased opinion!!). Resurrection will never be the same. Daybreak and Breaking Into Heaven cannot be matched. And the pubs and terraces across the lands will be singing Tightrope and Your Star Will Shine for many days yet.

Oh, and the Roses crew came on at the end of the Wembley show to play an impromptu version of Purple Haze. They were so good I thought it was the Manics. Noel Gallagher was hanging about afterwards.

I had a glorious time. Altemessar made it over okay. It's progress through to the band members after Simon has a good listen will occur in time. After all, they are now taking a well-deserved break from action.

The next step, I presume, is to check out all the recordings from the shows and mix a live album. My impression is that, judging by Crimson Tonight and the shows themselves, Simon should be able to concoct a live album worthy of considerable worship in the annals of time.

BTW, Black Grape were shite. And no Richey Manic either.

Cheers for now,


PS. Karl made it to two shows.........he's a bloody VIP now, isn't that right Karl?!!