Next week will see my wife and I fly out to see the Stone Roses in Amsterdam. It will be the first time I have ever seen my favourite band live.
I missed the Roses in 1989, I was only 13. However in 1991 I was 15 and some compilation tapes started doing the rounds in the 5th year common room. I was immediately sucked in by the pure guitar pop of 'Mersey Paradice' and 'Sally Cinnamon' that were on alongside the likes of 'Weirdo' and 'White Shirt' by The Charlatans and some choice cuts by the Mondays and Inspiral Carpets.
I became addicted to the Roses, the glorious debut album, the singles and the astonishing b-sides and then the funk out of 'Fools Gold' and the groove of 'One Love'. I bought all the 12-inches, the CD boxset that even contained their very rare debut single 'So Young/Tell Me', I even bought some singles on cassette.
It wasn't just the music though; it was the look, the style, the swagger, the belief and the artwork.
After a night out in Glasgow I was browsing round Tower Records (which used to stay open until midnight) and found the 'Live At Blackpool' video. Remember, we didn't have the internet back then, there was a sense of mystery that surrounded the Roses, something they have somehow managed to maintain even now with their comeback.
That video just encapsulated everything I love about the Roses. I must have watched it back-to-back for a week or more; Ian Brown coming on to say 'Manchester in the area, we're international, we're continental' while strolling around with a luminous yo-yo while Mani and Reni locked into the groove of 'Adored' and Squire sent shivering shimmers through his guitar.
I remember taking the day off work when the Roses finally released their comeback single 'Love Spreads' and then at the end of the week being in Girwoods in Wishaw when it came on and everyone went mental. I still remember fellow Roses nut Mark Duncan getting up on the pool table to dance like Ian Brown to it.
I remember sitting down and almost watching my stereo the day 'The Second Coming' came out with my wee brother. 'Ten Storey Love Song' sounded like the most gorgeous thing on earth, 'Tears' was sensational, 'Tightrope' was stunning and 'Beggin' You' was off the planet.
Then they announced some dates, including the Barrowlands. I was 18 and had my first job and I was surprisingly conscientious.
My brother was duly packed off to queue for tickets outside the old Virgin on Union Street. I think he got the 7.30am train. It was already mobbed and he returned empty handed. The rumour mill said tickets were going for crazy sums - outwith my reach.
My brother ended up seeing them at Sheffield Arena that year, minus Reni, but still he saw them in the flesh - our favourite band. I am still jealous of his ticket stub.
Then they split, in quite horrific manner. The tighter than tight band imploded in a messy fashion.
I caught them all post-split. Ian Brown's debut album was a lofi classic, The Seahorses were shit but I saw Squire, I even went for a pint with Mani in 1999 and caught Reni and singing and playing guitar with his band The Rub at Tuts. The highlight was catching Squire play a secret show at Tuts when he opened with the instrumental to 'Resurrection' then played 'Waterfall' and 'She Bangs The Drums'. The place went mental.
Then Brown and Squire each laid claim to Roses tunes with Ian even hiring the Complete Stone Roses to back him as he played a set.
That's all in the past now - the past was yours but the futures mine.
It is now 2012 and after being pretty against a reunion at one point (I walked away from Ian Brown the last time I saw him at Rock Ness in 2010 as his voice was so shot) I couldn't believe how excited I was when they had their Press conference. They still look like a gang, they still have the humour and the confidence.
And then when they played Warrington Town Hall the other week I found myself following John Robb's twitter feed and almost wetting my pants at the setlist and everything that was being said. The boys were back in town.
And so on to Amsterdam. I already had a ticket to see them at Heaton Park but when my friend Lynn got in touch to say she had 2 spare tickets to see them at the 5,500 capacity Heineken Arena I bit her hand off.
So what would my ideal Roses setlist be?
Well since the announcement I have made several playlists and although I would be ecstatic if they played these songs in any order this is what I would go for;
Adored - the classic set opener
She Bangs The Drums - fuck it - straight into Drums
Ten Storey Love Song - the chiming guitars will melt my heart and probably make me cry
Elephant Stone - brilliant intro and a real pop rush
Mersey Paradice - more pure guitar pop
Sally Cinnamon - imagine this for a first 6-songs, I would be in heaven
Sugar Spun Sister - lets catch our breath - just a little
Where Angels Play - a magical song
Made of Stone - a stone cold classic, one of the best choruses ever
What The World Is Waiting For - the comeback thousands have been waiting for
Bye Bye Badman - the first half of my ideal set is pretty heavy on the early stuff
All Across The Sands - an early b-side thrown in for the purists
Breaking Into Heaven - then it is all change as we get into a real groove
One Love - and we keep it going
Fools Gold - and we really get into the groove
Begging You - things go into overdrive as the crowd go nuts
Somethings Burning - eases things down again while keeping the groove
Standing Here - that glorious guitar intro will cut through the air like a knife
How Do You Sleep? - a fave of mine from the Second Coming
Going Down - mellowing out for a few songs before the finale
Tightrope - brilliant songwriting, the live version of this on the Crimson Tonight EP is amazing
Your Star Will Shine - I preferred this to 'Love Spreads' when it first came out
Elizabeth My Dear - to celebrate the jubilee! ;-)
Tears - The Roses at their best, incredible musicians
Shoot You Down - straight into this, one of my all time faves
Waterfall - we head to the finale with one of the Roses most iconic songs
This Is The One - we are getting near the end, people will be hugging strangers for this one, emotional
Love Spreads - the Roses jam out before...
I Am The Resurection - the ultimate finale, no encore, over 2-hours of music
Wishful thinking?! So was the reunion!
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