Roses in Sheffield, 12/28/95

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Date: 29 Dec 95 12:38:25 EST
From: Joan Fradley <>
To: Eric Thompson <>
Subject: Sheffield Review

I never went to Spike Island. For some reason, my 16-year-old mind decided that going to see the Inspirals at G-Mex was a better bet (good view, no rain etc), and so perhaps my only chance of attending a bona fide cultural EVENT was lost to a bunch of blokes from Oldham with crap haircuts. Is it any surprise, then, to find me shitting myself stupid at the prospect of (FINALLY) seeing the Roses in the flesh more than six months after they blew me away by cancelling their Glastonbury appearance. I guess the bastards went to see the Inspiral Carpets instead......

For those that didn't go, Sheffield Arena is the biggest shithole I've ever had the misfortune to see a band at. This was due to:

i) Crap security blokes who insisted that no-one have any fun at all, and

ii) The bloody barrier which divided the standing area in two, so that those in the rear of the Arena are faced with about 30 metres of WIDE OPEN SPACE IN WHICH NO-ONE IS STANDING and still have to stay half-way back. This IMMENSELY stupid idea effectively mean't that I was nowhere near the band and couldn't see shit. CHEERS!

Nevertheless, after queing in the freezing cold for what seemed like decades, my little heart was warmed by the prospect of seeing Fat Shaun and the rest of Black Grape. However, due to a combination of crap sound (they opened with "Tamazi Party", but it wasn't until the chorus that I worked that out) and a performance which said "we-can't-be-arsed-and-there's-booze-and-drugs-backstage", Black Grape were shite. Their set lasted about six numbers (which must have pissed off the many people who looked like they were here especially for them), and I was quite relieved at their departure, as it mean't that I could escape being squidged by a large group of testosterone-saturated Mancunians who insisted in creating a mosh HALF WAY BACK (!!) and chanting "Blue Army" at every opportunity. Sorry lads, but Alan Ball's a wanker and YOU'RE GOING DOWN.

My girlfriend reckons that she heard people talking who were convinced that we were going to get "Sally Cinnamon" and "Elephant Stone" tonight. Well, they were wrong, but we did see the near-mythical figure of Cressa (remember him?) nodding away to Black Grape by the mixing desk looking not a day older than he does on the "Blackpool Love" video. Vaguely star-struck, we are already dazed by the time the Roses appear. I'm sure you all know the ritual by now - lights go down, stomach-churning sound of the "Breaking Into Heaven" intro, and then four blokes appear and the place erupts. Squire does his Hendrix bit, a familiar bassline and, hearts in our mouths, the chant begins: "I don't have to sell my soul, he's already in me.....". You KNOW what's going to happen, but it doesn't stop the tingles up your spine, the great big grin, the sheer disbelief that they're actually here playing THAT song some five-and-a-half years after you first heard it. It's the kind of experience which you'll never get seeing Oasis, or Blur, or Pulp, or any of the bands that are supposedly the cream of British pop (and, yes, I've seen all three several times). THAT special.

Before we can calm down, they shoot through "She Bangs The Drums" and "Waterfall", both prompting joyous singalongs as people are overcome by a mixture of nostalgia, euphoria and the kind of communal bliss which perhaps only the Roses can create. The words "chuffed to fuck" sping to mind.

As "Daybreak" drools along for oooh, at least ten minutes before eventually morphing into "Breaking Into Heaven", you become aware of your suroundings and realise that everyone is dancing. For the first time all evening I can see Messrs Brown, Squire, Mountfield and Maddix through the smoke, dry ice and retina-burning lights, and it becomes apparent that "The Second Coming" is an LP that is mean't to be heard (and played) live - "Your Star Will Shine" and "Tightrope" (supposedly the weakest part of the set) both sound infinitely better than on record, the former in particular being delivered with note-perfect precision and a touching, emotive sensitivity. "Tears" is great, the sound improved tenfold since Black Grape's dismal drone; "Love Spreads" sounds as cool as ever; "Made of Stone" is anthemic and completely heart-rending, the glimmering intro sending all and sundry into paroxysms of delight; and "Driving South" is a great big ROCK motherfucker making the LP version sound like The Carpenters. If you like your Freud, then this is Squire having the biggest wank in the world EVER, but to tell the truth, indulgence never sounded so good, and you find yourself gleefully anticipating the promised live LP, wishing the days away. Only The Stone Roses can do this.

The love flooding towards the stage is overwhelming, but the band seem unfazed. They always wanted to be adored, and hey, they deserve everything they get. Coming back for the inevitable "Ressurection", I wonder why we ever let them bugger off for so long, and whether I'll ever get to see them again. BOM BOM BOM-BAM-BOM-BAM BOM BOM BOM-BAM-BOM-BAM. Its too late, and I don't even care. There's a time and place for everything, and right here, right now is all that matters.

Ian, Mani, John, Maddix - I want to shower you in gold, love, flowers, tears.

I'd love to do it and you know you've always had it coming.

Martin Fradley (

Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 15:40:03 +0000 (GMT)
From: kevin challenger <>
To: stone roses mailing list <>
Subject: review: sheffield arena - 28/12/95

Well, the Sheffield Arena event came and went last night, and although it's only the second time I've seen the Roses live, I can safely say they are one of (if not *the*) best live acts around. It was a month since I saw them last, at Bridlington Spa, a small venue, on the opening night of the tour. They were absolutley excellent then, if a bit rusty, but any problems seem to have been ironed out over the tour and they performed like true pros last night in the HUGE venue of Sheffield Arena.

After support from Black Grape (who were, in my opinion, shit - poor sound quality, mumbled/muffled lyrics), the lads came out to an amazing light show and rapturous reception from the thousands upon thousands of adoring fans, and their subsequent performance lived up to all expectations. They played what seemed like the same set as they have done for the rest of the tour (Adored/She Bangs/Waterfall/lots of stuff from Second Coming, including acoustic set/Made of Stone/encore - Resurrection). The light show throughout the whole show was *amazing* and their performance was top notch, with Ian's voice not even faltering during the acoustic set. I can't enthuse enough about how good they were, and how good it felt to look around the Arena and see thousands of adoring followers lapping up every second of it. They have proved they can play small, intimate venues (like Brid Spa), and can also live up to stadium rock expectations, as they showed last night. Like I said after my review of the Brid gig a month ago, The Stone Roses are definitely BACK! Watch out!

I'd like to see what Sujay has to say about it when he gets back, after coming all the way to Sheffield from the USA for the gig. Was it worth it?

Kevin Challenger *******************************************
Teletext/Ceefax/SkyText * These opinions are my own and in no way *
"PA" Data Design *do they reflect those held by my employer*
e-mail: *******************************************

Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 18:46:46 +0000 (GMT)
From: kevin challenger <>
To: stone roses mailing list <>
Subject: programmes

did anyone else here go to the sheffield gig last night? if so, did you buy a programme? they're rather excellent glossy things, with lots of ace photos in. I was just wondering if anyone has read all the names/credits inside the back cover. there's a list of the band members, then the tour crew, and the final name on this list says: Runner - Hugh Jarse. hmmm...surely not.

oh, and it also says that all the photos of the band in it were taken by Matt(?) Squire. Any relation (brother perhaps) to John?

Kevin Challenger *******************************************
Teletext/Ceefax/SkyText * These opinions are my own and in no way *
"PA" Data Design *do they reflect those held by my employer*
e-mail: *******************************************

From: "Andy 'Big' B" <>
Date: Tue, 2 Jan 1996 11:05:25 +0000
Subject: Sheffield Arena 28/12/95

I had waited literally ages for this - more than 6 years in fact, ever since not being able to go to Ally Pally. It was worth it. All the gigs I've ever seen faded into the background next to this one - Blur, Pulp, Oasis, even the Charlatans, you can keep 'em. While I don't exactly agree the lightshow was so amazing (several 200 watt bulbs swinging on bits of string), the sound was amazing, especially on Tears and Love Spreads. The keyboard player was totally ace as well, giving it some backing vocals and a bit of percussion during the acoustic set, although Mani disappeared during this part of the show, yet I've seen him in review pictures with acoustic guitars in hand - can anyone tell me what was going on? John is a total rock God, stalking round the stage instead of his less than energetic performance at Blackpool, and his guitar playing was unbelieveable. Robbie is not as good as Reni, but then who will be? Black Grape were crap, especially seeing as I saw them play two months back and they were top. We went to a rumoured after-show party at "The Republic" where Pulp turned up (also spied at gig: The Charlatans, with notebooks out hahaha) and told us the Roses were on their way, but they never showed (typical). Couple of my friends bumped into Ian and Robbie in a pub on Oxford Street, London, on Saturday, and Ian and Robbie told them they only ever go out to house/garage clubs, not indie/60s/anything else. Certainly, when everyone down the front (except me and my mates) stopped dancing during the 20 minute Daybreak/Breaking into Heaven you realised just how many people don't understand dance music at all - so many people were looking around or going to the bar, but it was a totally hypnotic groove. Man.

Anyway, the whole thing has changed my life. Ian's singing was even in tune! Go see. And can someone tell me if the mailing list is still going, or have I just been removed from it? I've received nothing off it for ages.


Andy B.

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!!!



Date: Sat, 6 Jan 1996 14:52:10 +0000 (GMT)
From: B T Haley <>
To: Stone Roses mailing list <>
Subject: Rejoined

After successfully making a complete arse of myself anyway.

Saw the roses in Sheffield with Black Grape.

The Roses were so-so SO good, it was hard to believe that John Squire was playing live, he was so incredibly proficient and inspired too. After expecting Ian's voice to be horrible, I was pleasantly, shocked shall we say, to hear him sing very well indeed. His voice was very powerful and audible, it only went a couple of times during the acoustic version of Tightrope where he could have done with some backing.

The whole event was just magical.

The intro to Breaking into Heaven was played over the PA thingy then Squire joined in and it transformed into I Wanna be Adored. After five years of (what the world is) waiting (for) there was the proof that they did actually exist, to hear those songs live after so long was such a excellent feeling. I could go on for pages and pages, but I won't. I'm sure the set-list was more or less the same everywhere, but here it is anyway;

Breaking Into Heaven (intro)
I Wanna Be Adored
She Bangs the Drums
Ten Storey Love Song
Daybreak / Breaking Into Heaven (2nd half)

Your Star Will Shine
Tears (Squire swaps acoustic for electric halfway thru)

Love Spreads
Good Times
Driving South
Made Of Stone

I am the Resurrection (predictably - but still tops)

Robbie Maddix was very good, he makes a good *live* replacement, we'll see about on record soon I hope.

Mani proved himself to be a fine guitarist too, I was disappointed he didn't say anything (or did he?) but they did have him in the spotlight all by himself for the intro to She bangs the drums.

Black Grape were good, although they could have done with being a bit louder and the stage looked cluttered. Kermit was ill, so they had the geeza who did the rapping on In the name of the Father standing in for him, he was definitely a good choice for a replacement. And he learned all the lyrics too. They did eight songs in this sort of order,

Tramazi Parti
In the name of the Father
Don't know the name of this one- B-side?
Shake your Money
Kelly's Heroes
Reverend Black Grape
Little Bob

KH. Sub. and RBG were definitely the best for me anyway. I was a little disappointed but they were still good.

All in all a tops night out..