x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Stone Roses make a thumping comeback in Dubai

The Stone Roses delivered a powerful, polished performance at Dubai Media City Amphitheater.

The Stone Roses perform to a packed house. Antonie Robertson / The National
The Stone Roses perform to a packed house. Antonie Robertson / The National

Rolling back the years, The Stone Roses delivered a powerful, polished performance at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre on Thursday night.

Opening with I Wanna Be Adored, the band's 90-minute, 16-song set was a riotous, nostalgia-soaked journey through Manchester's influential late 1980s, early 1990s sound. A time when "Madchester" briefly and improbably ruled the music world and the Roses were feted as one of the most important acts on Earth.

The band's frontman, Ian Brown, who celebrated his 50th birthday the night before their Dubai appearance, announced the Roses' arrival with the simplest of acknowledgements ("Hello, thank you") before quickly settling into his stride.

Early set highlights included Ten Storey Love Song - arguably the most enduring song from Second Coming, the band's faltering 1994 follow-up to their flawless, 1989 self-titled debut - and the vicious elegance of Shoot You Down, its laconic rhythms overlaid with Brown's biting, break-up lyrics. This was a sublime moment in an often supreme performance.

Brown dedicated Fool's Gold to Liam Gallagher and his "beautiful family" - the former Oasis frontman was in the Dubai crowd - before the band launched into a 10-minute rendition of this acid-house-meets-indie anthem which, following its original release in 1989, spawned a thousand imitations.

That song, as well as Waterfall and This Is the One, brought to the fore the taut performances of the drummer Alan "Reni" Wren, guitarist John Squire and the bassist Gary "Mani" Mounfield. The latter, bizarrely, played in front of a collection of Royal Doulton Character Toby Jugs propped precariously atop an onstage speaker stack.

Reni, Squire and Mani put in exceptional work throughout and, if it was hard to keep your eyes off Brown's loping dance moves, it was impossible to ignore the band's epic sound, which remains undimmed by the passing of time.

After 15 years away, one can only hope the reunion continues for a while yet.

 

nmarch@thenational.ae