When I was about 17 myself and a gang of mates from Loreto College (Manchester) borrowed a builder’s blue transit van and on 27 May 1990, made the ‘pilgrimage’ to Spike Island in Widnes, to see the Stone Roses.
From the hilarious journey in the back of the van (much Malibu and pineapple and other ‘stuff’ was enjoyed) to watching quite possibly one of the most influential rock bands to come out of the UK for decades, we all concluded that it was a ‘one off’, a magical experience and totally unrepeatable.
When we arrived at the Spike Island site, full of giddiness and excitement, I was stopped by ‘the cops’ all of whom seemed to have angry drug enforcement Alsatian dogs I recall (!). I was smuggling in a bottle of Pernod liqueur – quite possibly one of the vilest drinks ever created. But at the time, we thought it was pretty rock n roll, particularly when mixed with Ribena… The police officer took the Pernod and thankfully gave me my entrance ticket back but in the delay, I had lost my mates.
Not to worry, the fantastic vibe and people there that day meant that I had a blast and did eventually link up with my little gang – we did what Manc kids do best – we danced, we partied, we laughed a lot!
It was for all us a real ‘coming of age’ experience that day and it ended with, naturally, a bit of a rave in the car park and several more on the way home and, in all honesty, I have no idea if I actually slept in the van that night or not?! How on earth did I get home….??
Anyway, the Stone Roses split a few years later and like ourselves, went their own ways. Rumours of feuds ensued, confirming that a Stone Roses reunion would NEVER happen. The chances of ever seeing the band united would be as likely as the Pope winning the Eurovision Song Contest.
Fast forward to Friday 29th June, over 20 years later (jeez I feel old typing that!) and the ‘Roses’ are playing at Heaton Park (practically in my backyard – I own a house just a short walk from there).
I was invited along to the first night of three as a member of the media and was lucky enough to be in VIP – what a contrast to the transit van and Malibu!
In my heart, I went along thinking that the event (which had attracted world-wide media coverage) could easily be a real let-down. Big money, big venue and the likes of Brad Pitt rumoured to be on the guest list.
Surely, the whole thing would lack soul and real credibility??
Well, I’m so glad to say that I was not disappointed. Conveying the loved-up vibe and the amazing energy of the night is not easy. To use a cliché, ‘you had to be there’. That, for me, says it all.
Well done all involved, it rocked! And well done Manchester, we know how to party!