Gary Flockhart: Living in the past with the Stone Roses

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UNLESS you’ve been hiding under a massive rock, you’re no doubt aware that the Stone Roses reunited last weekend to play their first major UK gigs for 16 years.

While half the country went nuts for these reunion gigs at Heaton Park, Manchester, the other half wondered what all the fuss was.

The Stone Roses are not adored by all but those who love them really, really love them. To the diehards, they are more than a band. They are a time portal to reckless, devil-may-care days that have long since been replaced with mortgages, kids and mid-life crises.

The reservations many have about the band’s greatness lie in the fact that they only ever recorded one great album - their self-titled 1989 debut. Then there’s the oft-repeated line that frontman Ian Brown can’t sing. Fans argue that ‘King Monkey’ is all about attitude, and there is truth in that. The bottom line, however, is that for all his swagger, the man is tone-deaf.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Roses in their heyday. They were fresh, exciting and vital. I have fond memories of seeing them on Glasgow Green in 1990, and that first album still gets an airing from time to time. But I don’t need to see them again. The memories and records are more than enough.

I applauded guitarist John Squire in 2009 when he wrote: ‘I have no desire whatsoever to desecrate the grave of seminal Manchester pop group the Stone Roses’. And I agreed with Brown when he said, “I don’t see how we could create what we had. It would spoil everything by trying.”

No matter, what is done is done.

Fans going to T in the Park for the band’s first Scottish gig in almost two decades will have a great time. Like those Manchester shows, it’s going to be more about the event than the concert. It won’t matter that Brown STILL can’t sing and it will be impossible not to be swept up by the hysteria as they belt out classics like I Wanna Be Adored.

Me, I’m not the sort to wallow in nostalgia and prefer to be in the presence of a band whose moment is now, not 20-odd years ago.