The Stone Roses, Heaton Park, 29/06/2012, a set on Flickr.
When I was a kid and first starting to listen to music away from what my parents had on in the house, I was directly influenced by what was around me at high school - mainly Happy Hardcore. Because of this, for a lot of my teenage years, I was lost in a world of hardcore, rave and old skool. Of course, tastes broaden as you get older and I started looking for other things to try. As it was, one album in particular changed my musical outlook completely.
The Stone Roses' eponymous debut album was as perfect a record as I'd heard at the time. I nearly wore the CD out it got played that often and before long I'd got Turns Into Stone and Second Coming to go alongside it. The advent of widespread internet file sharing soon meant I'd got everything they'd ever released - B sides included.
Of course, it seemed that the chance to see them live had long since vanished. I saw Ian Brown in Barcelona at Summercase in 2008 and he played some Roses songs with Mani (there on Primal Scream duty) joining him for those. Between that and the Clone Roses it seemed as though that would be the closest I'd get.
Then, of course, the reunion was announced. I was skeptical at first and unsure about whether or not to get a ticket. I eventually bought one, reasoning that I'd be daft to turn down the chance to see them at least once.
By the time the Friday rolled around giddiness had well and truly set in. Myself and a few good mates took our spot not too far from the front, just in time for Primal Scream which was a nice bit of symmetry with Barcelona and got ready for the band we'd all waited a long, long time to see.
And it was something I won't forget. Yeah, Ian Brown still can't sing, yeah there were some sound issues but that's what you'd expect from a Roses gig! It's the experience that counts and it was one hell of an experience. Watching the fireworks at the end with Redemption Songs playing in the background was a wonderful moment as we all took in what we'd just seen.
"Not bad for a bunch of old cunts" was the cry from the band at the end. "Old cunts" they may be, a reunion influenced by money it may allegedly be, but at this moment in time music is crying out for a band like the Roses. Hopefully the current throwback feel to the music scene in this country will lead to something fresh coming through. God knows a new generation is crying out for their real life-changing band.