LONDON – British rockers the Stone Roses returned to their old stomping ground Manchester on Friday, for their first major gig in their home country since their acrimonious split 16 years ago.
The quartet, one of the most influential bands to emerge from the 1980s rock scene in Manchester, northwest England, kicked off the first of three massive shows at the city’s Heaton Park with their best known hit, “I Wanna Be Adored”.
“Here we are, here it is, here we go,” frontman Ian Brown told the 70,000-strong crowd.
“As you see, we’ve still got it,” Brown said with trademark confidence — though he struggled to hit the right notes from time to time, just as he did 20 years ago.
The band belted out a string of old favorites, including “Mersey Paradise”, “Sugar Spun Sister”, and “Sally Cinnamon”.
The Stone Roses were resurrected last year after Brown and guitarist John Squire patched up their differences at the funeral of the mother of bassist Gary “Mani” Mounfield.
The official comeback mini-festival at Heaton Park, featuring fellow 1980s rockers Primal Scream as one of the support acts, follows performances at a string of European festivals.
The 225,000 tickets for the three Manchester shows sold out in an hour, a British record.
The Stone Roses recorded just two albums and their 1989 self-titled debut is regarded as a seminal work, fusing psychedelic pop with dance music.
With tracks such as “Fool’s Gold” and “I Am The Resurrection”, they were one of the leading lights of the “Madchester” indie scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s, alongside acts like Happy Mondays and The Charlatans.
Brown has since pursued a solo career and made a brief appearance in the 2004 film “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”.