A band that sings ‘I am the resurrection and I am the light’ is probably not lacking in confidence. Their most likely the sort of band who, having not released an album for 20 years, would decide one of the best places for them to gig would be Madison Square Gardens. All secure in the belief that if ‘we play they will come’.
Such a band is The Stone Roses, perhaps the most famous underachievers in British musical history. The arrived in the late eighties with a series of cracking tunes that was unlike anything that had been happening in music for around 20 years. Talking of Cream and Jimi Hendrix had been remarkably unfashionable just a year or two before but they made it sound fresh, new and vital. A picture of them on an Alpine ski slope arms raised in reminiscence of the Beatles duly followed and the world waited for the second album. It didn’t appear for 6 years and was good but not that good. The Roses had effectively wilted.
Perhaps because of this failure they have won a special place in the hearts of Britons, perhaps mirroring their own feelings about the nation, a place where great things could be achieved but seldom are.
Last night their fans appeared in droves to pretty much fill the Garden and sing along with their most famous songs.
The band didn’t let them down, belting out their ‘hits’ or more accurately their most famed album tracks, with a power and self-belief that rolled back the years. Men of a certain age had shown up in replica football jerseys and floppy sun hats to sway beer in hand and fist outstretched to rhythms that brought them back their youth, if only in their own minds.
It’s always fascinated me to see people who probably haven’t been to a show for years turning up to relive a moment from a happy past through the power of music. Watching them you note a kind of unease and wistfulness, as they nearly but not quite, get with what is happening on the stage.
I confess to singing along with everyone else as I was brought to the realization that I liked this band much more than I thought I did.
No longer trendy they were now symbolic of a time in the late eighties that was about to herald the end of Thatcher and the beginning of something more inclusive and liberal. How far away it seems but how much we need it, now more than ever.