The Stone Roses Pt 2: Spike Island

Read Part 1: ‘The Stone Roses 1987 – 1989 here

A letter had been forwarded to me from our old flat. It was from Reni, The Stone Roses drummer. It included two tickets for Spike Island and a note scribbled on the back of his electricity bill saying ‘I hope you didn’t pay for that meal.’

Danny and I travelled up with GaryPaul and Dave by car. We went to Manchester the night before and stayed at a friend’s place. We went out and couldn’t get into the Hacienda, Manchester was full. We went to a smaller club nearby and danced. Went back to the place we were staying in and crashed out until morning. Breakfast in Manchester, then drove to Spike Island. It was so packed we weren’t able to hook up with Amanda and Rudy. My memories of the event itself are strangely few and very vague. We stood not far from the mixing desk and there were quite a few people, a little bit worse for wear, all around us. We chatted and danced our way through the d.j. support acts, it was sunny and occasionally sitting on the grass was also fine by me. When The Stone Roses came on stage it was immense. The sound wasn’t great though, the wind was blowing it all over and you could sometimes hear people talking. Nothing like the intensity of the London and Buzz Club gigs I’d seen them play the year before. I think I spent as much time looking around me, catching peoples’ eyes as we danced as I did watching the band. It was glorious and just a little disappointing. I had wanted it to be so good, but the sound issue was a real shame.

We made it back in one piece after stopping at Keele service station and spotting loads of other Spike Island people, travelling home.

Luckily, Dave who was one of our crew has a much better memory than me, so, I’ll let him have the floor:

‘The main things I remember the night before in Manchester was not getting into the Hacienda, which I thought was funny as 5-6 years previously I had gone there quite a few times & no matter who played there it always seemed about 70% empty, the joke at the time being someone should always bring a ball along as you could have a game of 5 a side using those columns for goalposts…. I also remember having a bit of a verbal with the door guys at that other place as I had the “wrong trainers” (they were steel toe-capped work trainers)… as we arrived at Spike Island….a guy, his face looked like an old Woolworths bag turned inside out, stuck his head through the car window & shouted “eeeee” … So wandering around, the afternoon was warm, without being too hot.. We saw Bobby Gillespie on the grass in his leather trousers, with his girlfriend… Comments were made, you can guess who led them (my guess is Gary).. Along the lines that it’s hard to not be impressed by a man wearing leather trousers outside on a humid day… With zero fear of chaffing… I remember most of the afternoon just dancing non stop with people coming & going… This girl came dancing in front of me… She was big, not remotely overweight just big, with what can only say was a blonde Louise Brooks haircut, wearing a white long sleeve t-shirt & denim flares that oddly reminded me of Dumbo… She suddenly grabbed me & snogged me with such vigour I actually checked my front teeth were still in place afterwards… In that short moment of combined shock, surprise & arousal, she did say something to me but I can’t remember a word apart from she said she was from Sheffield… I don’t think there were any support bands, just DJ’s.. But in honesty I was dancing to the ice cream vans as much as what the DJ’s were playing… As evening progressed you could feel a palpable excitement… Everyone was surging forward & I lost track of the rest of you but we were compos mentis to arrange to meet up at the back of the sound desk afterwards… As the band came on stage, I was sucked towards stage left… If you look the attached video, I remember the ball landing on the stage & Ian hoofing it in the crowd… What the video doesn’t pick up is the roar when he did it.. You would have thought he had scored a winning goal at Wembley…. The first thing I remember as the tempo of “I Wanna Be Adored…” upped I got half spun around to see the whole pace erupt, absolutely everywhere… I have never been to a gig / festival where absolutely everybody is bouncing up & down.. It was quite breathtaking… (check out 2:14 on the video)… This enthusiasm was kept up for most of the gig, the only breather I can remember is when they did the extension to “Waterfall” I looked to my right there was guy watching them crying his eyes out… He was totally enthralled, but it did seem somewhat alarming… But by the time they got to probably my favourite song at the time “Where Angels Play” the breeze had got up & taking much of the sound out towards the Mersey… It also became a lot quieter.. But I was n’t 100% sure if it was the wind / PA’s failings… So as things were coming to a climax the sound very much made it an anti climax… I’m not a fan of fireworks but I do remember being quite pre-occupied with the pretty colours… Driving back, there are 2 things that stick in my memory….Firstly, driving back I saw a sign that was a caution for Deer… That was terrible for me, as everything thing seemed to be a deer wanting to jump out in front of the car, but I couldn’t say anything to Gary.. As no doubt if I screamed “look out!!” I was convinced I would make Gary jump & he would crash the car… So for a long time I just sat the in silence, with the exterior of Bjorn Borg in the 5th set but inside I can’t tell you chaos that was occurring… The other thing is when we all stopped at Keele Services for some food.. Loads of other people had the same idea… You have never seen so many people sit down & eat an “all day” breakfast in the middle of the night in silence trying at all costs trying to avoid eye contact…’

Thanks Dave!

Read The Stone Roses Pt. 1: 1987 – 1989

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