On Friday we headed into London to see The Stone Roses play at Finsbury Park. We’d seen them for the first time last year at Heaton Park (their reunion gigs), and jumped at the chance to see them again this year.
We got there pretty much at gates, and were surprised how close we could get to the stage. Could’ve been at the barrier, but decided that given how nuts the crowd had gone at Heaton Park discretion was the better part of valour & we stood a little way back – maybe 10 people from the front (ended up a bit further back by the time The Stone Roses came on, as is always the way coz people push forwards). Crowd was a bit rougher with more fighting & less pleasant than at Heaton Park, and I kinda felt security were more concerned with security theatre than actually doing much useful. Like early on we saw 5 big burly guys come to tell a couple of lads they needed to put their cans of beer into paper cups, yet when a couple of fights broke out during Dizzee Rascal’s set they took ages to react & sort it out. The other way it was less pleasant was there were more chaps peeing on the ground & a lot more paper cups of liquid being chucked across the crowd. Most of it was cold & hence probably beer, but lets not dwell on that – suffice to say I washed extra specially thoroughly when we got back to the hotel that evening :/
First band on were Rudimental. We really drew the short straw for support acts, to be honest – the next night had acts that were much more to our tastes. Rudimental are very current – they have had a recent number 1 hit. Wikipedia lists them as drum and bass which isn’t really my thing, musically speaking they performed well (bonus points for having a trumpet player!) but they didn’t really grab our attention. I felt like I was too old and have never been cool enough to be into them, if that makes sense 😉
Next were The Courteeners, who I also hadn’t heard of before. They were a five piece rock group & much more to my taste, and I need to try & remember to find out if they’ve got anything on Spotify & give it a listen. The atmosphere for their set was good – there seemed to be a lot of people who were there as much for them as for The Stone Roses.
And our third support act was Dizzee Rascal (a rapper, who I had heard of before). His set was marred by at least two or three fights in the audience but I’m not sure it would’ve gone down all that well even without stopping a couple of times while security broke things up (eventually). I’d listened to a couple of his recent albums on Spotify a few days before and thought it seemed fairly samey, but when the set started I thought I’d maybe misjudged it and this was going to go well. He & the rest of his band (er, the other guys on stage, it’s not really a band) had presence & managed to get the crowd going along with it for a while. Then it just fizzled – partly I think because he played a load of new unreleased songs & it’s not like most of the audience knew his older stuff so we couldn’t care less about the new stuff.
And finally it was time for the band we were actually wanting to see! The Stone Roses came on at about half-eight, and played for nearly 2 hours without much chat or even many pauses between songs. The set list was a bit different to the one at Heaton Park (I particularly noticed the lack of Sally Cinnamon coz we’d been talking about it earlier in the day), but pretty much all the classics were there 🙂 The crowd were all into it, singing along even with the guitar & bass riffs when there weren’t any vocals to sing. It did kick off a bit (and at times I found it hard to keep my feet) but apart from a few assholes it was people who were enthusiastically enjoying the gig, so that was OK. (I gathered from conversation around us that further in it was rougher & people weren’t being as courteous as they should – not picking up people who fell for instance – so it was wise that we didn’t push further forward.)
After the gig we walked back to the hotel – I’d got us in a Travelodge near Kings Cross, so that was quite a long walk but the queues at the tube station were apparently taking an hour to clear. Much nicer to walk for that time & talk about the gig. As with after the Heaton Park gig I had “Something’s Burning” stuck in my head with the first bit of the lyrics looping over & over:
Don’t count your chickens
Coz they’re never gonna hatch
You can’t catch a monkey with a shotgun and a sack
Coz you’re too dull baby
You can’t see the wood for the trees
Coz you’re too slow baby
You just couldn’t get off your knees
(Although it appears I always mishear the fourth line, coz I remember it as identical to the sixth.)
A fantastic gig! Hopefully they’ll release new material some time too, apparently they’re writing so there’s hope for that 🙂