Can Stone Roses keep it together for whole weekend?
Fingers crossed as three concerts by seminal 80s rock band get underway in Manchester tonight
BRITISH families should plan for a dad-free weekend as many of the nation's forty-something males head to Manchester to catch a trio of comeback gigs by the seminal rock group the Stone Roses at Heaton Park. The Daily Telegraph reports that it took less than an hour for 210,000 fans to snap up the tickets to the mini-festival when they went on sale back last October.
The band - guitarist John Squire, singer Ian Brown, bassist Mani and drummer Reni - were formed in 1983 and are best known for their eponymous 1989 debut album. Their unique sound, a fusion of classic rock and dance beats, placed them at the forefront of the 'Madchester' scene of the late 1980s. They split in 1996, having only released one more album, 1994's Second Coming.
The band broke up amid considerable acrimony, with Squires leaving in April 1996 citing "the inevitable conclusion to the gradual social and musical separation we have undergone in the past few years". Brown and Squires went on to successful solo careers, while Mani joined Primal Scream and Reni left the music business altogether.
The band played their first gig together for 18 years on 23 May, when they performed a 'secret gig' for 1,000 fans at Parr Hall in Warrington, before setting off for a short European tour. In Amsterdam earlier this month some of the old tensions resurfaced when Reni refused to appear for an encore and Brown told disappointed gig-goers that "the drummer's a c*nt".
Expectations are running high among ahead of the gigs which start tonight - according to Popbitch there are 8,000 people on the weekend guest list - but one set of people who won't be joining the pilgrimage to Heaton Park are NUJ photographers. A dispute between the band's management and the snappers' union over a restrictive contract that hands copyright of images over to the Roses means the NUJ has blacklisted the event.