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One-time HaÇienda resident Dave Haslam is playing a pre-show DJ set of early club classics and Todd Terry is all set to relive the glory days at the official afterparty at Sankey’s, but the main event of the weekend can only be one thing: the third coming of the Stone Roses. We’re on a packed public park to the north of Manchester city centre, and we’ve time-warped back to the late 80s.
Singer Ian Brown seems a little nervous as he strides onstage to greet the 75,000-strong crowd with the now-fateful words “Here we are – here it is.” Nevertheless, the familiar opener ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ and an early run of jangle-pop classics including ‘(Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister’, ‘Sally Cinnamon’ and the meatier ‘Ten Storey Love Song’ are played with blissed-out precision.
The seminal ‘Fool’s Gold’ is an early highlight, guitarist John Squire, bassist Mani (whose old group Primal Scream opened the show) and drummer Reni – wearing an odd wig of white dreadlocks – stretching the song into an extended jam with all the dancefloor-packing power of a Detroit classic as played by James Brown’s band.
“We’ve got more Mancunian anthems coming your way,” swaggers Brown after a growling ‘Love Spreads’, his familiar confidence having long since been restored. He’s not wrong – their finale is pretty much perfect, with ‘Made Of Stone’, ‘This Is The One’, ‘She Bangs the Drums’ and the firework-strewn finale ‘I Am the Resurrection’ inspiring hands-in-the-air singalongs from what looks like everyone in the field, as far as the eye can see.
It’s a special kind of euphoria from a group who sound vital, exciting and once more immersed in the joyous spirit of the Second Summer of Love, and maybe one that even The Stone Roses’ most ardent disciples hadn’t bargained for.