The Unreleased Roses

The Unreleased Stone Roses by Colin Fleming (Record Collector)

In early October of 1989, having already overwhelmed Britain with a classic debut album and a series of triumphant shows, The Stone Roses found them­selves in Germany at a venue called the Luxor Club.

There exists a recording of what transpired that night, and one can find it on the web or at your local record fair, with about 125 other different Roses bootlegs and bootleg DVDs. This one is titled Etched in Stone, fair play as puns go. The Luxor Club apparently had a billiard table, which its patrons, as one can easily discern on the bootleg, enjoyed playing regardless of singer Ian Brown, who gets him­self a touch lathered up at the lack of, shall we say, audience participation. “You don’t move much, do you?” he says, to not much response. A German heckler yells something; a punter answers with “shut up `ya Kraut bastard!”

For the first two songs, the opening be arsed to do anything but get through the gig. And then, for whatever reason – anger, pride, art – a reversal is at hand. Locating this sort of transformation, so abrupt as to change the mood of a room, and yet so subtle as to be contained in a few bars of music, can be a bit of a challenge, but let us opt for the moment John Squire lays into the guitar solo of Made Of Stone, after which the Roses sound as though they would like to rip your head off, but not before first informing you of their collective genius.

By the time of their defining I Am The Resurrection, the longest version of the song the Roses would ever play, Ian Brown is swagger incarnate. Between the beats of Reni’s drum intro, decidedly not content with what he has witnessed, Brown has a go at reality: “You think it’s enough don’t you to pay your money to see us/Well, do you know what I mean, it works the other way/ We paid our money to see you’. A pause, for drama as much as meter one presumes, before the final directive and the march into the belly of the beast. “Let’s see you man!”

This story plays out, appropriately, with a sound you never would have imagined , and yet, once heard, is all but impossible to shake free of.

A special thanks to Colin Fleming for writing this article and subsequent input.

The rest of this article can be read in the November 2004 issue of Record Collector magazine.