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Live Review: The Stone Roses

13 December 2016 | 12:52 pm | Bryget Chrisfield

"Sadly this gig comes too late in the year to include in The Music's Best International Live Act poll, 'cause it would've been a shoo-in."

After triple-checking tonight's 9.45pm start time, which varies from night to night for this triumvirate of Australian-exclusive shows by The Stone Roses at this venue, we climb the Sydney Opera House stairs. The bars are heaving, English accents are dominant and, quelle surprise! There's many 'booket hats' on noggins (and on sale at the merch stands) around the foyer.

There will be no intermission tonight and so most punters enter the venue double fisted. The lights dim and we're treated to a Stevie Wonder song by way of intro tape. Then on saunter our fave Madchester lads, "Live and direct!" as their swaggering legend of a frontman Ian Brown hollers. Their opener is fitting, I Wanna Be Adored (alrighty, then), and the whole house is bang up for it and on their feet from the get-go. Brown looks like he's directing air traffic up there with a jingle stick in each hand. His razor-sharp cheekbones could be seen from the moon and Brown's definitely going commando this evening. That black-and-white satin bomber jacket he wears with embroidered single, long-stemmed red rose on the back - want!

Mani looks so excited up on stage; positively bursting out of his skin, but always standing as if his back is glued to his amp. Reni has adopted a 'homeless Dave Grohl' look behind his kit. Guitarist John Squire hides behind a curtain of flowing locks, aping Cousin Itt. "This one's for the ladies," is how Brown introduces the stunning Waterfall, during which cascading harmonies wash over us. What's the deal with the backwards version of this track (Don't Stop), though? It makes us feel weird. Brown makes an effort to perform in the round according to the hall's set-up for their shows. He messes with fans filming on their smartphones, shaking his jingle stick/s close to screens before taking one device out of a punter's hand and filming his bandmates individually before passing it back. That footage will rule! Brown presents his jingle stick to a front-row punter, allowing him to play it for a while before retrieving it. Eventually said jingle stick is gifted to said fan. Elizabeth My Dear (the Scarborough Fair one) has always baffled. And then finally The Stone Roses deliver Fool's Gold! "I'm no clown/I won't back down/I don't need you to tell me what's going down/Down down DOWN down da down down DOOOOOWN!" And all get down to that gloriously funky riff. The atmosphere is so electric it's surprising our dancing feet don't produce actual sparks. Now Brown just hands out his jingle sticks willy-nilly! An attractive stage invader almost makes it across to Brown during Love Spreads, the singer dancing while facing her, welcoming ("Let me put you in the picture"), but then security sadly intervenes - talk about coitus interruptus! 

An inflatable boxing kangaroo somehow makes its way onto the stage and then This Is The One blows collective minds. I Am The Resurrection is vitriolic poetry over mind-bending bass and snappy drumming. House lights illuminate and ALL sing along. Brown's rangy presence is magnetic and The Stone Roses make us disenchanted with emerging so-called bands coming up in the scene; they've got a looooong way to go.

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"More power to ya," Brown praises and the band look legitimately chuffed by our reception as they embrace and kiss each other before bowing as one. It's doubtful that the Opera House has ever heard a roaring reception such as this. For real. And sadly this gig comes too late in the year to include in The Music's Best International Live Act poll 'cause it would've been a shoo-in.