Director: Shane Meadows
Release Date: 5 June 2013
Once in every twenty years comes along a band that plays a central role in a snapshot of that generation. For the baggies of the 90s that band was The Stone Roses. I could little have thought when stood in a field in Widnes some 24 years ago that this week would find me in a warehouse in Trafford Park as one of the select few to share first hand Shane Meadows' film chronicling the self-proclaimed resurrection of a band that epitomised the second summer of love.
Lifelong devotee Meadows is unabashed in his worship which is evident in his pre film introduction and although the film could easily veer towards sycophancy, in fact he has captured the mood and euphoria of the maverick’s second coming in all its glory. It's all here; the stoned interview, grainy early home footage, dissections of the flounces and the fights, the Court cases and the catalogue of pure bad luck that saw The Stone Roses fall from the biggest band in the music press to near obscurity. Shot in black and white and colour the film chronicles the events from the press conference announcing the Heaton Park gigs to end with footage of the gig itself. The only time that the film is reigned in is four gigs into the European warm up tour after the debacle of the Amsterdam gig with Reni leaving the gig before an encore leaving Ian Brown to, with surely full credit for this, face the angry audience to tell them this. Tensions are strained with the rest of the reunion in doubt and it is at this point that Meadows leaves the band to sort out their differences away from the spotlight. Joys include the scramble for tickets at Warrington, hearing the band rehearse Waterfall in their pre gig hide out and more footage of Mr Squires' guitar than should be legally allowed. It says it all that the film itself opens with the pure charisma of Ian Brown taking to the stage at the start of the Heaton Park gig, Messianic in all his Mancunian glory to "I Want to be Adored". Adored they are and the reaction of the crowd should surely leave nobody in any doubt as to this; when people stand at the end of a film screening never mind a gig you know you're adored.
I personally would have liked to see a bit more of the "behind the scenes" rehearsal footage from the hundreds of hours shot and a bit more about their life between the spotlights but this is nit-picking as primarily this film is about the reformation and as such concentrates on the build-up to the homecoming gigs capturing the raw emotion of the fans and band alike. Even so, both me and my fellow fan give the film a solid 8 out of 10 - although one mark of that is for the whole atmosphere of the venue; my co-conspirator remarked that it was more like waiting for the start of a gig than a film."Grown men will cry" proclaimed the NME. Well, perhaps not; we are northern. But we might have a bit of a sniffle.
Director: Shane Meadows
Running Time: 97 minutes
This review has also appeared at The Manchester Gazette