The one we’ve waited for

I’m going to do what is, by now, a familiar cheat where I use one ticket to refer to something else that I can’t find the ticket for because it is, inherently, more interesting than the ticket I have in my possession.

I also appreciate how confusing that opening sentence sounds.


Thirty years ago I was fortunate enough to see The Stone Roses play in Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom. It remains one of my favourite ever shows because it was one of those rare occasions where I can claim to have been somewhere that was precisely the centre of the cultural universe at that point in time.

They were just coming off the back of the release of their debut album and were a genuine phenomenon.

A friend who ran a local indie night we went to every Thursday asked if we were interested in going and so six of us trotted off for a day on the Pleasure Beach and a night hearing the kind of tunes that never leave you.

All around Blackpool it was clear what a big deal this was and a rammed Ballroom reverberated to a stellar setlist that contained at least half a dozen all-time classics. Even their B-sides were streets ahead of most bands’ A-sides.

So 30 years down the track, now married to the girlfriend who accompanied me on the day and steaming towards a big anniversary of our own, we decided to join the hordes marking the anniversary of this particular gig.


The wonderful Clone Roses had organised a full afternoon and evening of tribute bands and Gill and I arrived to see the headliners and the Oasis-alikes as main support.

Bucket hats and adidas trainers abounded, and with DJ Clint Boon spinning some massive tunes from the era ahead of the Clones’ arrival the crowd was already in celebratory mood and so it continued throughout their set.

The place exploded when they came on, and if you check out their Instagram feed you can see clips of the hall going absolutely nuts. This much love for a tribute band remains astonishing, but they recreate a band and an era that meant so much for so many.

Roll on their Spike Island anniversary show…






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