Second Coming: Stone Roses kick off Phoenix Park series in style


FORTY-NINE minutes and two seconds of music released in April 1989 was enough to attract 45,000 people to the Phoenix Park last night to witness the second coming of the legendary Manchester band the Stone Roses.

That debut album – the perfect synthesis of dance rhythms and guitar melodies – sounded magnificent as it was played live on a beautiful Dublin evening by a band who many thought had been consigned to the dustbin of music history.

The crowd joyfully sang along with almost ever word as The Roses worked their way through their now classic repertoire (two albums and a handful of singles).

It was for the best that there was a karaoke feel to proceedings as singer Ian Brown’s vocals veered between the sublime and the ridiculous. At times it felt like a competition winner had grabbed the mic.

Artist Damien Hirst (who was providing moral support backstage last night) said last week that “The Stone Roses are artistically more important than Picasso” which was perhaps overstating it.

But many of the night’s up-for-it crowd would have been in agreement with him as the band raced through such well-known numbers as I Wanna Be Adored and I Am The Resurrection. Now all touching 50, they are still a formidable live experience with a fantastically tight rhythm section (drummer Reni and bass player Mani) and some virtuoso guitar lines from John Squire.

In the absence of the Oxegen music festival festival fans are getting their outdoor musical kicks at a series of concerts at the park this week.

Many fans made a day of it arriving in the mid afternoon to get the best viewing point for the night’s main attraction and being entertained by a series of support acts: local act The Minutes, Clash guitarist Mick Jones and reggae band, The Wailers.

Since announcing they were reforming last year after 15 years, there has been an unprecedented amount of interest in their comeback shows. For many, The Stone Roses epitomised all that was best about guitar/dance music. As much influenced by classic 1960s guitar bands as they were by the dance culture of the late 1980s, the band had an era-defining sound.

From the make-up of the audience in the Phoenix Park last night it was clear that although many of the crowd wouldn’t have been born when the band released their first album, there were still plenty of 40- to 50-somethings in attendance – an age group that would have grown up with the band.

Also playing in the park this weekend are Swedish House Mafia tomorrow night and Snow Patrol on Sunday night.