Crossing the Atlantic for THE STONE ROSES

The Stone Roses Return
By Nick Parker

Second in the Series
click here for Part One. Editor Nick Parker is returning to England to see The Stone Roses reunion. The Stones Roses aren't just a band in the UK. They're a long awaited storm - a media phenomenon. And no one knows how it will go since the members of the band are famously "difficult."

There is nothing that can stop Nick from this momentous date. We asked him to write about the experience each step of the way.

DATELINE - BOSTON (Earlier This Week) In a couple of days I will be headed home to Manchester (UK). Despite the predictably torrential forecast, I will certainly not be the only one moving towards the city over the next couple of weeks. There will be an army of nearly a quarter of a million people converging on the spot to see The Stone Roses return to their home too, and play again, for three nights at Heaton Park.

I can't write for all of them of course, and I don't know how many are casual or fanatical about the band. I suppose I'd say I am close to the latter. I am, after all, essentially willing to fly a quarter of the way around the world for this event. I am sure there are those who are coming further, but not too many who are hanging so much on this performance.

That said, I have been trying to retain at least a little distance on the value of this show. For one thing, in the last week it has become clear that there is a real chance it may not even happen. At one of their first gigs together in 16 years, a warm-up to the Heaton Park nights which are coming up, tensions in the band already seemed to suggest The Stone Roses are not at tightly bound together as the fanatics would like to believe. They are, for better and worse, a highly volatile entity. This is one of the first reasons to love them though: their various skills and motivations have to deftly align, like an eclipse, for things to become as great as they can be.

Nick Parker is traveling from Boston to the UK for the chance to see Stone Roses.
Thousands of these tickets soldout to fans around the world in 14 minutes.

In a rather feeble attempt to establish my journalistic objectivity, I watched some shaky footage of that Amsterdam show from last week (before the band's meltdown). I was uncomfortable doing so – it felt like a betrayal of the fanatic in me, who would certainly have preferred me to hold on to the aura around the band until I was able to witness them in the flesh.

Looking at them without the fanfare and the crowds and the immersive light show (not to mention the homely rain) certainly detracted a lot. The Stone Roses are no more than a four-piece band, and an aging one at that. Though it's fair to say that even on the small screen they acquitted themselves pretty well, their were small errors in pitch and timing that I'm sure, in the mass hysteria of the show, I would have been able to ignore. Singer Ian Brown seemed hardly able to mask his discomfort on stage either, which was disconcerting given in mythical status in Mancunian musical culture.

So why, if even I can see with some distance that the band are, in the end, just a good band, will I be cramming myself into a coach seat to fly for hours to glimpse them? I'll have to let you know.

Stone Roses
Web / Wikipedia


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