The Fourth Coming: Stone Roses and the nostalgia loop

One of the biggest music feeding frenzies of recent years was The Stone Roses’ release of their comeback single All For One — which let to equal parts of derision and relief, depending on who you were chatting to or following on Twitter.

In fairness, nothing short of  a direct reincarntion of the Roses’ debut album would have pleased everyone after a gap in new recordings of 23 years.

The Stone Roses have a hell of a legacy to maintain, and they took a gamble releasing new material, considering their first round of comeback gigs in 2012 was strictly a nostalgia fest.

They stuck to their guns with the promise anyway — they vowed to release new material if they ever hit the road again, and All For One is aimed straight for tens of thousands of tipsy fans roaring the chorus right back, even if they got stick for the simplistic lyrics and phoned-in riffs.

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A quick scan of the current setlist shows they’re not even playing their second comeback single Beautiful Thing, which probably won’t bother many people at Marlay Park tomorrow, as it’ll just leave more space for another classic. This is set to be another epic trawl through the vaults, and a direct mainline into the teenage memories of many ageing indie-heads in the crowd.

There’s always a worry that bands set in stone as near-myths will destroy their legacy with a comeback, but Ian, Reni, John and Mani pulled it off the last time, and this time round the reviews have been even better.

The beauty of having such a limited recorded output is that the setlist writes itself. If you’re a big Roses fan you’re a dead cert to hear I Am the Resurrection, Fools Gold, This Is the One, She Bangs the Drums… you could list their whole setlist and it’d be its own classic indie playlist.

And even if their 1989 debut album is the one everyone cherishes like a sacred Brit rock text, their rarities collection Turns Into Stone and the sniffed-at follow-up album The Second Coming still has Fools Gold, Elephant Stone, Love Spreads and Begging You.

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I was a bit sniffy at the start of their last gig at Phoenix Park, hanging around the outskirts with drunk heads banging about, spilling pints and dropping burgers in the muck.

But it paid off when I pushed up closer — Ian Brown, impish as ever, prowling the stage with his arms slung round John Squire during the solos was a hell of a buzz. Here’s hoping they’ve bottled more of that for tomorrow.

You have to feel for the support acts though — SOAK’s delicate acoustic tales are more suited to Whelan’s than a huge field full of indie-head champing at the bit, and  former festival faves Rodrigo y Gabriela need to learn Spanish guitar versions of indie classics instead of Metallica.

  • The Stone Roses play Marlay Park, Dublin tomorrow, with tickets €74.50. Doors 5.30pm.
  • Originally published in Irish Daily Star