Roses’ return adored by 45,000 fans

They had vowed never to reunite.

But with last week’s trio of comeback dates in Manchester netting a reported €35m, you can see why the Stone Roses were persuaded to bury their differences and carry on where they left off 16 years ago.

For the Irish leg of their reunion tour, about 45,000 fans — many, though not all, the far side of 35 — stomped their way to Phoenix Park, Dublin. The mood was boisterous as, just before 9.30pm, singer Ian Brown still whippet-thin at 50, guitarist John Squire, bassist Gary “Mani” Mounfield, and drummer Alan “Reni” Wren took the stage, wearing the slightly shocked expressions of men who thought they would never again stand in front of such a throng and had almost made peace with the fact.

With only two albums proper to their name, there were fears the foursome might struggle to fill a 90-minute set. But there was little filler tonight, as the Roses proceeded confidently through sky-scraping anthems such as opener ‘I Wanna Be Adored’, and ‘Mersey Paradise’.

Overwhelmingly blokey and up for a good time, at moments the atmosphere more closely resembled that of a football terrace mid-celebration than what you expect at a rock show. Fists were pumped, choruses chanted, impromptu man-hugs exchanged.

Band reunions are routine nowadays. Few have generated this level of excitement, and with good reason. The Stone Roses self-titled 1989 debut album seemed to crystallise a moment of history. It was a conventional rock and roll album but one that captured the exultant, communal spirit of the rave era then dawning. The LP’s influence on music, fashion, and youth culture has been enormous.

Alas, the Mancunians seemed unsure how to respond to overnight success and dropped off the face of the planet, leaving nothing behind but an aura of mystery and the sense we wouldn’t see their like again.

They did eventually resurface, five years later, with a ho-hum second record. The cracks were widening, though, and by the time of their triumphant concert at the 1995 Páirc Uí Chaoimh Féile Festival in Cork, Reni, widely acknowledged as the heart of the group, had already left. Twelve months on, with Squire also having departed, they called it quits.

On a hazy evening in Dublin, all those bad memories dissipated in the fading sunshine. As the opening chords of arguably their greatest song, ‘I Am The Resurrection’, rang out, one fact was indisputable — here was that rare band reunion worthy of the hype.

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