It's a shrewd move, playing a quasi-secret small comeback gig, especially when you're a band who weren't always that good live in the first place. A sense of occasion, people who feel they're part of a chosen few - you're not going to get bad feedback from that, are you?
More importantly, while the Stone Roses' reputation for clunking live performances was a fair one, they've all got a lot more experience under their belt now, so it'd be worrying indeed if their Warrington Parr Hall date yesterday had picked up where the Reading 'mare left off.
Gordon Smart, of course, would never have had any doubts but did find a subtle way of pointing out that everyone has got older since the last time round:
One [fan] even held up a walking stick as Ian Brown played tambourine and did his trademark monkey-style dance.The songs were, perhaps wisely, drawn from the first two albums, and mainly the first, but the Roses' ability to try out things that must have seemed a good idea at the time is still there, reports the NME:
There were no new songs, but there were a few surprises. At the end of 'Love Spreads', Brown broke into a rap, which appeared to feature the phrase, "Stone Roses up on the stage".XFM see a band who have taken the car out of the garage, and are happy to see the engine still runs:
There was no encore, but the band members hugged with a palpable sense of relief.There's also a reminder of what was most irritating about Roses fans the first time round:
Mani, meanwhile looked, in the words of one onlooker, "Mad for it".Oh, God, "mad fer it" and the hats. I'd forgotten.
But - with a crowd who had to prove they were fans to get in (although the barrier was 'do you have a CD you can show us') and a few miles from the Roses' Camelot of Spike Island - this was mostly about laying that ghost of 'not being very good live'. It's probably a good sign that Brown could joke about it. The NME again:
Before 'She Bangs The Drums' he quipped: "Are we in tune yet?"