20 Years ago today, the Roses blew Glasgow away

“On 9 June the Roses played Glasgow Green, a show that was for many perhaps their finest-ever live performance. The show itself was a killer – it was blistering and it was loud. It seemed then like The Stone Roses were invincible, an unstoppable force, a band that touched people’s hearts and souls. They had the tunes and the attitude.”
– John Robb (The Stone Roses and the Resurrection of British Pop

It’s 20 years today since The Stone Roses played arguably one of their best ever gigs, Glasgow Green. After the less than perfect performance at Spike Island, the Roses wanted to prove to the British press that they could still do it live.

“When we were on stage that day, we all looked at each other, and then just went up another level”.
– Mani

The atmosphere was amazingly intense, with the big top tent amplifying the atmosphere and the heat. The first and last time I experienced in-door rain!

The gig was also significant for another reason – it the Roses last gig for five years, and Reni’s last live performance with the Roses.

If you were there, then please leave a comment with your memories of the gig.

Melody Maker Review, 16th June 1990

I HAVE seen the future of the much-vaunted indie/club groove crossover and it gladdened my heart. I have seen hundreds of floppy fringed hormone cases flip their wigs to a sound so heavy and, hell, modern that it caught in your throat. I have seen a venue in which every punter, not just the front rows, shook themselves silly to a band of yobbish, youthful swaggering shitkickers with the future in their sweaty grasp. Unfortunately that was The Charlatans at The Mayfair last Thursday. The Stone Roses at Glasgow Green, on the other hand, poured buckets of listless sonic slurry over their over-charged, over-drugged audience in a venue that, thanks to its unique acrylic properties, literally pissed on you. It was a bad trip.

Few things in life are as billed. Tonight’s venue, Glasgow Green, is, in the main, a verdant stretch of parkland situated right in the heart of Glasgow’s post-industrial city centre. Any gig here, in the crystal shadow of the sumptuous Winter Gardens, is bound to have the angels on its side. The billowing marquee that will house tonight’s show has, however, been pitched on the site’s one blackspot, a gravel wasteland on the lip of the River Clyde. It has barely had time to recover from last week’s Big Day, and the piles of detritus form a depressing welcome for the 8000 devotees this humid Saturday evening.

The compound itself brings to mind Dante’s Second Circle Of Hell. The acrid stench of frying onions from hotdog stalls mingles queasily with dope fumes. Even though the Roses have waded through the opening “I Wanna Be Adored” and are presently occupied with an appallingly muddy “Elephant Stone”, hundreds of fans are loitering in the compound, glassy-eyed, dehydrated, maybe demoralised by the mumbling, muffle output from the PA. Smiley faces in the “O” sweeten the sign announcing tee-shirts at £10 a throw.

Inside the tent, it’s Tardis time. From the outside, the construction looked like a quaint, turreted plastic fun castle. Inside, however, the dimensions are roughly congruent with the worst of Britain’s converted aircraft hangers and conference centres. Only the unmistakeable kinetic contours of Ian Brown’s Supermarionation stage shuffle prove that the dots in the next postcode are the real Manc-coy and not some scam-friendly imposters.

Inside, of course, it’s a sauna set to music. The thousands who brave the crippling humidity obviously consider this no bad thing and rapturously receive a perfunctory run-through of the set premiered in Stockholm and consolidated on Spike Island, ie: all the hits, “One Love”, “Something’s Burning” and a “Fools Gold” that segues into “Where Angels Play”.

As has come to be expected, the band are on autopilot, both distant and distanced from the school-kids and unwaged urchins who have blown a month’s spending money on this shindig. The only words uttered by Brown all evening are the “Ta!” that follows “Waterfall”. His one unscripted action is to hold a “Stone Roses at Glasgow Green” tee-shirt aloft during “Sally Cinnamon”. Bad venue, bad sound, bad attitude.

As Everett True noted, apropos Spike Island, the fineries of punter-satisfaction and professional pride are mere bagatelles to the Roses these days. Doing it is of no importance to them, but rubbing their success into the faces of the doubters and sceptics is.

What we came across more than anything else tonight, though, was the band’s ennui with even this pettiest of satisfactions. Why bother going to the trouble of avoiding traditional rock touring habits when all you have to offer your relocated audience is a dose of Sex Pistols surliness to the power of 10? Even the Pistols cared passionately about not caring. The Stone Roses, however, can’t even motivate themselves that far. They may well be our first true post-modern pop band, in that the cumulative ebbs and flows of culture have sapped them of any vestige of real emotion or opinion. When every rock stance and icon has been permutated into infinity, the only attitude left is resignation.

The Stone Roses are, in reality, little more than the sound of a sigh made flesh. How else do you explain the airy ambivalence of their music, of Squire’s untethered, over-chorused guitar lines, Brown’s wandering whines or the druggy, Floydian pointilistic new material? The claim that the band have now nailed their colours firmly to the mast of club culture were similarly blasted into atoms by The Charlatans gig, by the sight of a band so wired they made the Roses look opportunistic by comparison. Just as the Roses came along and made Morrissey the relic he is, The Charlatans will in time show how risibly unmotivated and stupefied The Stone Roses really are. Tonight was more blind man’s zoo than rock ‘n’ roll circus. If we’re lucky it might turn out to be the night The Stone Roses finally Topped themselves.

Sounds Live Review, 16th June 1990

This was always going to be more of an event than something as one-dimensional as a mere rock show. And to say there was an air of expectancy about the assembled multitude of 7000 would be an understatement bordering on the absurd. To the unconvinced it all seems strangely impenetrable. Let’s face it, what we’re dealing with here appears to be little more than innocuous indie pop at its most definitively British, yet the crowd’s response to these self-same dreamy pop tunes pulls them out of their introspective cocoon and catapults them into the realm of no quarter battle cries. Even if you’re not unequivocably with them from the off it’s impossible not to respond to the dimensions of the spectacle unfolding in your head wherein the Roses bombard the senses with a recipe way more impressive than anything encountered on their collected discography.

Appropriately enough, with World Cup fever heavy in the air, the opening I Wanna Be Adored rings out like a pantomime anthem from the terraces. But hold on. Just as you pause to reflect how thoroughly British it all is along comes the eight minute psych-funk spectacular Fools Gold, meandering along on what are quintessential American influences; a guitar sound ‘borrowed’ from the depth of Electric Ladyland via Issac Hayes’ Theme From Shaft – which ushers in a succession of smouldering wah-wah firestorms that continue through Waterfall and Made Of Stone finding their conclusion in I Am The Resurrection. Then, like special effect triggered on cue – thanks to the weird atmospheric conditions by this time prevailing under canvas due to the build up of condensation – it actually starts to rain inside the tent. It felt as if the entire Big Top had been levitated inside a huge jet engine with the throttle jammed at maximum thrust as John Squire did his best to outdo the howling flashburn hell of Hendrix’s anti-‘Nam lament, Machine Gun.

Meanwhile … his mike forever held aloft like an enchanted candy apple, Ian Brown exudes all the unlikeliness of Jim Morrison reincarnated as an acid-damaged alter boy. He looks like he hasn’t got a clue what he’s doing but his anti-presence belies his role as master choreographer of psy-kick elevation. At the close of I Am The Resurrection he holds his bongos aloft like a triumphant salute signalling the end of the orgy of sweat, volume and euphoria. It’s a finale that’s impossible to top. After the stampede for the exits all that’s left is an eerie silence, a pronounced ringing in the ears, a thick mist floating in the upper reaches of the Big Top and a realisation one and all had witnessed something quite extraordinary. All these guys need now is a cover of Blake’s Jerusalem and they’ll have well and truly wrapped up the great British institution of the rock show as mass out-of-mind and body experience.

36 thoughts on “20 Years ago today, the Roses blew Glasgow away”

  1. What a night that was, seen loads of bands been to loads of festivals and this is up there with the best…Remember going home from Glasgow to Greenock soaking wet. Superb though and their music is timeless..

  2. nope…missed the gig…but I’ve listened to the somewhat scratchy mp3 on my player many times over…truly a shame the way they would up…”the saddest words of tongue and pen…”.
    But, we have the tunes…

  3. I remember the gig well – I won the tickets in a Daily Record competition & took my best pal, Claire, along with me! We were right at the front & got a few fantastic photos of Ian B & John S! I also remember getting absolutely drenched in Lucozade which, for some reason, people were throwing about all over the place, so went back home to Greenock sticky & soaking, but happy! Those were the days!!

  4. Yea a was there me and 4mates. The roses were on fire.amazin.only got ma ticket 3 days before( lost in music Ashstone lane) memories of the whole tent bouncing at adored bassline, sweat drippin off the ceilin and Elizabeth my dear right into ressurection, magic. Happy days not a bit of bother either.

  5. Amazing. Samantha – photos would be great! I remember being so dehydrated that I went outside to buy some orange juice. Imagine my shock when I discovered in was said Lucozade. Key memory was the guy climbing up the support pole to be tight in front of Ian Brown, waving at him and Ian’s response. My first ever gig.

  6. Nick – What was Ian’s reponse to the man climbing the support pole? As someone who wasn’t there i’d really like to know much more of what the band were doing on stage etc etc. So little is available of this gig it’s fast becoming the new Spike Island!!!

  7. Interesting reading the comments above. I too was at this gig (my 3rd Stone Roses show after Rooftops (oh yeah!) and Alexandra Palace (oh yeah!)I followed them from the start and I always felt they were ‘my’ band. I had tickets for Spike Island but sold them when the Glasgow Green gig was announced. Anyway, when they became enormous and the neds started going to the gigs it wasn’t the same. Glasgow Green was the pinnacle if this, with wall to wall wee bams in flares and daft Reni hats. Someone above said there was not a bit of bother, but I disagree – there wasn’t much love in the area really, especially once I was punched in the face for absolutely no reason. In the same way they say the 60s died at Altamont, in my own melodramatic way, I feel the Stone Roses died not at Reading a few years later but that day at Glasgow Green.

  8. Phil Spector – Thanks very much for the detail, althought sorry to hear about the punch…

  9. I was there with my mate Danny. We were both well seasoned giggers and not there to be impressed – I’d seen the Beatles as a nine-year-old in 1964 [true] and everyone in the 70s who mattered. Danny grew up seeing punk and post punk live from the Pistols, Clash, Howard Devoto Buzzcoks to Ian Dury and always Elvis Costello. This was a grade-A gig and the Roses were on a totally different level that night, so some of the other comments are disappointing. So, the gig was a crap big-top tent, the weather was crap, it rained indoors, most of the 8,000 crowd was stoned, drunk or both and it was hot, hot, hot. Didn’t matter. The bootleg is a poor recording unless you were there and my CD is full of dropouts now – a cheap blue CD deteriorating by the day – but get a hold of it. The sound is good enough for you to know this was the Roses at their absolute best. And there’s a postscript. Danny is one of these guys who just meets people – he was in Newcastle one night years later, sometime in the 2000s, and somehow ended up in a club with Ian Brown and Gazza’s mate Five-Bellies. A whole other story, but Ian Brown was happy to tell him that Glasgow Green was one of their best by a long way.

  10. Derek – Thanks again for the memories. As i have said before, i loved to hear stories like this. As i never got to see the fab four (The Roses) i’m always glad to hear new stories…

  11. M M – was quite funny because Ian Brown gestured to him in favour of what he was doing. Was quite amusing actually. Ian was fairly quiet through the gig, actually. I remember him picking up a fake t-shirt that’d been thrown to him, showing it to the crowd, and saying ‘these are nice’. In fact, if you listen to the bootleg, that’s what he’s referring to. The gig was very, very loud. So loud that when I came out and bumped into my mate we had to shout at each other because we couldn’t her the other speak. They were on blinding form, however, and the backdrops of Squire’s paintings were very cool behind the band. Shame it was never video recorded but appearently rumours are circling about Spike Island.

  12. Nick – I do know (i’m an insider on the Spike Island footage) that the whole footage does indeed exsist. Tons of footage of the lead up to the gig was filmed also.

  13. 15 at the time I was there with 2 of my m8s & what a night it was. I remember queuing up outside Virgin records in union st for my ticket, even that was a good night as I seem to remember a guy with a tape deck playing roses tunes. The wait for the gig to come around seemed like ages but when It did It was well worth the wait.

    With my quarter bottle of vodka and can of breaker drank while in the queue I was ready to go. While waiting patiently for the Roses to start I remember 2 guys coming through the crowd with signed t-shirt and was gutted it wasn’t me wearing them. The wait was over and the party started,

    From the first bass cords of I wanna be adored to the last strums of I am the resurrection the place was rocking. I had been to only 3 gigs at this time and this blew me away, what a night. I still remember one of the bootleg t-shirts, splash paint picture of the Roses on the front and the lemon on the back with the Spike island & Glasgow green dates on the shoulders. God I loved that t-shirt.

    It’s been good to think back to the good old days.

  14. i was there. i mind going along clyde street to the green. anticipation was off the scale. we queued at fleshers haugh, and heard the sound check – which was fucking atrocious. Got in and b-lined the front area, maybe 20 rows back at that point. it just went off as soon as the arena was filling up. people wanted to dance, the vibe was electric during the deejays – there was no support band despite the rumour of an appearence by the charlatans, who had played the previous night at Glasgow Mayfair. the entrance of the band was the maddest natural rush i ever experienced, we surged forward, sucked into a non-existant space…i touched the sky, inviting the band into me, to take over my body and make me groove. FFS groove i did. Not much point talking tracks…listen to to the bootlegs, if elizabeth my dear does not leave you speechless nothing will. It was in tune and harmony all night, powerful grooves, and brown sang like an angel. no encore was expected, although we demanded, but none was delivered.
    the tent rain I don’t recall, but it could have happened, it was one hot thriving tent of people grooving to the max. I remember the stewards did not let me keep my ticket stub on the way in, after the gig i picked one up off the gravel when leaving the tent,and put it on my bedroom wall…I was 17 mind…I didn’t say much on the way home after meeting my crew at the mixing desk at the end of the gig. I just walked home and dreamed.

    I got a bootleg of the gig at the barrowlands market, on tape..christ knoww where that ended up.

    I was lucky to see my band in my era when it was revelationary to me as a young music fan. Lots of great gigs in the following years suffered unfairly by comparison because the emotional ratchet could not be levered..

    Local indie radio dj Bryan Burnett questioned the band’s ability the night before on radio clyde, rumour was it that he left early after getting pelted by plastic bottles…no idea if that is true or not, hope it was.

  15. MM – tell me more, sounds very intreguing. I’ve seen the pre-gig footage on YouTube already.

  16. Nick – What was Ian’s reponse to the man climbing the support pole? As someone who wasn’t there i’d really like to know much more of what the band were doing on stage etc etc. So little is available of this gig it’s fast becoming the new Spike Island!!!

  17. was lucky enough to see the roses in their prime,even after being to so many gigs and seeing some great bands,glasgow green is still my no1 concert.the band at the peak of their powers,the glasgow crowd all made for a special concert,so many great memories

  18. we travelled down from Aberdeen – 5 of us on a bus organised from 1up records, great night had by all including the footprints on my mates back – still no one has any idea how they got there – he didnt fall over – the gig was loud, the dance music before ‘helped’ us on our way.
    cant wait for the new gigs.

  19. I was one of the few that has been lucky enough to see the Roses twice.. Glasgow Green and then the Barrowlands..

    I will never forget the Gig on the Green…. going to the gig with school friends…i must admit i was real 90’s hair metal fan, but never forget walking into our 6th yr common room hearing the Roses for the first time, then asking friends who it was..that afernoon i bought the album on cassette and played it about 7 times non stop… i had been resurrected/converted….

    So the gig was a pivotal moment,,,we went to the gig early it was not a concert but i recall a happening…it was about the feeling that we were going to be seeing something truly special.. i remember being near the front but the heat was unbearable and i had to move as it was truly claustrophobic… i decided to move to the back…and literally 5 mins later as i go to the back…the roses came on…the place went wild… i can remember being right at the back,,,dancing like some crazy kid…no one cared we were all so over the moon at seeing and hearing our heroes…. the heat rising and water/sweat dripping from the roof unreal… i cant explain it…apart from it was a day that opitimised a very special year for me in my life…it was a dawning for me where i changed my musical tastes.. i was closed metal fan until the music of the roses set me free… i now listen to all types of music…all because of the Roses…. Bring on the ‘Third Coming’ i cant wait……

  20. I am the cop in the top photo who Ian Brown is giving the hand’s up sign to. forgot all about meeting him until my photo was spotted in the June 2012 edition of Mojo. Ps I had just kicked his arse in a backstage sing off. Stone Roses British
    musical legends thanks for the memory.

  21. I cued at the old HMV store in union street with a couple of mates to get tickets for this gig. What a day, weather was hot, got charged before the gig on the green with my brother and a group of friends from Bourtreehill in Irvine. This gig was the best Roses gig by far. I was at Spike Island and the Faile gig a few years later, which I think was the last gig Rene played (not Glasgow Green as someone mentioned in this forum).

    Glasgow green was where the Roses proved themselves as really good live band, not just a band who recorded arguably the most cultural defining debut album ever.

  22. Apologises to all, I got it wrong it was Robbie Maddiix who played at Faile not Rene. Yes. Glasgow Green was Rene’s last gig with the Roses.

  23. that gig sums up my whole youth in one night!it holds a special place still in heart and memory…i was right in the front row was nearly passin out with the heat, got elbowed in the head and knocked out! security lifted me up but somehow my allin one(fashion at the time i swear!) got caught and got pulled right off!! so i got carried across the stage in my MATCHING underwear! a lovely st johns ambulance woman sewed me back into and then we went to the sub club where WE MET THE BAND! danced the night away with the lads til it was bright and waited weary but truly truly happy for the first train home to stevenston….one of my best memories. ever. x

  24. 3 of us got train up to glasgow from liverpool saturday morning got to the green about 4pm ticketless got a crate of lager an smoked are way till start of the gig like one of the posts stated there was not much love around i witnessed two proper kick off,s with .got tickets off a tout an like a post said no tickets were handed back still pisses me off that.the roses that night were outstanding it was a wall off sound witth mani,s base line pumping through you and reni drumming blowing your head off.but the fun started after the best gig the roses ever done soaked from the sweat we then had to walk around glasgow till 9 am till are train the next morning (blow all our money for hotels on adrugs and beer ha ha )if i remember right glasgow was capitel of culture year an we had a laugh that night .going to heaton park but a bit sad thinking that it will never ever be as good as that magical amazing long night

  25. Glasgow green gig was in my humble opiniom amazing. I loved the roses back then and still do. I am actually writing this having just seen them 16 years later at heaton park on Sunday. They didn’t sell out they still have the attitude. John Squire is inspirational on the guitar and reni is just a pure percenter drummer. And btw for the guy that got punched I had flares and a bucket hat on and I was and never have been a ned. Got some great pics of the gig from heaton park. If anyone is interested leave a message and I’ll send. Got one of Ian Brown shaking my hand amazing. It was like meeting the dhala lama or mandella. Amazing band. Fingers crossed for new material and I hope it doesn’t affect the mark they made on British guitar music. MAd For It. Peace and Respect to all.

  26. Was lucky enough to go to Spike Island and Glasgow Green – both were great gigs (also days & events out!!). Main problem with Spike Island was there were a lot of non-memorable bands on before The Roses came on.

    But Glasgow Green was awesome, a top, top day out. I managed to sneak backstage at one point and tried to swap shirts with the main man as he came off. I’ve seen The Complete Stone Roses a few times and Ian Brown as well but if I can get tickets for this, I’m flying back from abroad for it!! I would have liked to come back for the gigs this year but Glasgow Green is just way too much temptation.

    The Stone Roses are timeless and it’s great to think that a new generation of fans might have the same experience as that’s still so fresh in our minds (well, through the blurry haze of the day anyway 8-D) – not to mention that us auld yins can recapture a bit of our youth!!

  27. I was not at Glasgow Green in 1990 but I found the Melody Maker review from the gig very amusing to read.
    I know everyone has their own opinion but the journalist appears to be quite a way off the mark compared to what most people have said about the night.

    The music press back then often got it seriously wrong with the Roses, NME really didn’t give the debut album a positive review at all and Melody Maker also often claimed that the Roses where nothing but hype!

    Personally I think that the Roses are a band worth getting hyped about and I am really quite pleased that they are back playing shows. Believe.

  28. Was too young to get into Rooftops in ’89!!! Didn’t have the dough to see them at Blackpool, Ally Pally or Spike Island, so by the time the Green gig came along, I was a wee bit excited to say the least!!! Slam (and the chemicals) got everyone well up for it, so by the time the Roses came on, the place was goin’ mental!!! I live overseas now, but I was lucky enough to see them in Barcelona in June- Wonderful gig and I’m going to see them for the 8th time in Dubai in February 2013!! All great gigs (except Reading ’96), but will NEVER top 9th June 1990!!!!

  29. I think if you can remember the gig in great details you weren’t really “there” if ya get me! I still get a rush when I hear the opening bars of Waterfall… One word… Immense… soon to be repeated in 2013… Cannae wait! Dx

  30. I’m going back in June 2013 to see their return and came across this site trawling for info. Brought back great memories.

    Personally, I think the review on the site captures the Glasgow gig accurately. I’d been an advocate of the band for a while since hearing early 12inch releases and had also seen them at Spike Island earlier on, of which I wasn’t really appreciative. That spectacle was soured for me by being too much under under the influence most of the day and, as I recall anyway, the sound being really poor and lost on the up-current of wind and air circulating the ‘bowl’ of the arena area. The Spike Island gig was also marred by my mate losing the plot just as the band “eventually” came on stage and getting detained later by HM Constabulary for running back and forth across the motorway out of his mind amidst the industrial estate on the way in to Spike Island. Hardest phone call I ever made right there- calling his folks to explain that one.

    Anyway on a musical, social and experiential level Glasgow was so, so much better. (Sorry to read about an earlier poster encountering hassle but that was fortunately not my experience of the gig nor the best part of the early-mid 1990s gigging and clubbing scene).

    I do distinctly remember the strange phenomena of it raining inside the tent at what appeared an uncanny moment in relation to the sheer heat, music and stage of time of the concert. (Hadn’t reflelected on this for years until reading the review on the site-thanks for bringing back warm memeories). The fact that the condesing steam generated by thousands of people seemed to cascade down form the tent roof and cool you down amidst an atmosphere of euphoria and heat as the band built to a crescendo with the music, now seems almost perfection.

    Hope my memeories of 2013 are as fond as those of 1990 , If so I’ll be happy.

  31. Was at this gig with 5 mates, we were all around 16-17 at the time. I had experienced spike island a few weeks before and persuaded my pals that this could not be missed, needless to say they are all extremely glad they went with it!
    Indoor rain was remarkable as was the noise and atmosphere from start to finish, truly mind blowing!
    Can anyone remember the name of the dance tune they always played just before they came on ?

  32. This was my first concert and I loved it, I was at the front of the queue and my friends and I had our picture taken when the bus with the band went past. This has since been published in a magazine and a book. After the concert I found some mint tickets on the ground and to this day I still have them. I still listen and love the music and will always hold on to these fantastic memories.

  33. Jimbo. was at George sq and ended under a tree in the shade talking and singing with Liam of hothouses flowers was overawe so surreal then he said see you later that’s my time to go on stage after George sq headed off to Glasgow green to see big country etc spent all my money missed free bus had to walk 8 miles home but was buzzing happy days.

  34. So who denied Melody Maker’s reviewer their freebies, to piss ’em off, and write that ‘review’?

  35. I remember the ply floor boards on the ground throwing me in the air as the whole place was bouncing ( I got a stitch from bouncing). I was only 17, there was no bar so no age restrictions. I was really young looking so couldn’t get into other gigs at the time and felt grateful to the Roses for not wanting an age restriction.

    We were at the front of the queue and there was such a buzz before the gig. Lots of people wearing flares of course. They never ripped the ticket stub so I had it intact for years but now lost.

    Made Of Stone was incredible live with the whole crowd singing along on the chorus! My first ever gig and couldn’t have been more special than this one.

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