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The Complete Stone Roses review

Philippa Cave thinks fake Roses are better than none in Moho Live

Published on March 17th 2009.


The Complete Stone Roses review

There are accepted rules of gig-going which shape each fan’s particular habits. So knowing the headliner invariably appears around 9pm, dictates when to arrive, to fit in your own pre-match ritual. Simple.

Friday the 13th, however, spooked the system.

This explains why ‘Waterfall’, the third song of The Complete Stone Roses set, was already in full flow when this reviewer reached Moho Live. Yes, it’s sensible to check the official info, but others were also caught out by the 8.30pm start, a few missing the gig entirely.

Celebrating exactly 20 years since the release of The Stone Roses’ eponymous debut album, the event was also a fundraiser for Francis House Hospice.

Tribute band, ‘The Completes’, have existed for a decade, with various line-ups, but bear little physical resemblance to their idols. This means they’re half as old as the album as a band, this means they’re part of the mismatch between fantasy and reality which makes cover band concerts very odd.

Musically, though, we were swept proficiently through the album’s songs without pre-amble or mishap. I like banter at a gig, particularly declarations of a band’s love for its crowd, however shallow, but here, this was wisely lacking; we had our own image of whom was playing and didn’t want it shattered.

Continual big tunes like ‘Made of Stone’ and ‘This is the One’ predictably kept the crowd lively, helped by the close, low stage of this intimate venue.

The Original Stone Roses, from left, Reni, Mani, Ian Brown and Grand Prix Royal Class (Gold Winner Tatton Park 2007)

Finale ‘I am the Resurrection’ unleashed sweaty pits as arms were flung wide, and I realised a particular beauty of tribute; the band’s role is to sing every word, not lazily hand over their biggest anthems to the crowd to destroy.

Refreshingly, even this epic wasn’t watched through rows of camera phones held aloft towards the stage.

It was the music and its home city, not these musicians, being worshipped here.

The Completes didn’t make me adore them, but they didn’t need to. This was a one-night stand (and a short one, being kicked out by 9.30pm), but carrying the expectations of a 20-year acquaintance. The fake group merely delivered the goods with familiar technique, to leave faces grinning and a little bit flushed.

Not the real Stone Roses, some ceramic ones

A respectful and competent musical imitation then. All good clean fun. Cover bands are about a warm mush of feeling, sing-along tunes, and then moving on somewhere else. Their pretending masked by a lack of pretension. Otherwise they would be pointless. And of course this was for charity, we weren’t made of stone after all.

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7 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Karen HMarch 17th 2009.

I like Moho. I like it being tucked away' It's a good little venue. Wish more stuff was on there. Much refer it too the Academies.

ScroogeMarch 17th 2009.

Gordo will be rubbing his hands in glee. He'll only pay half the fee for a review of half a concert! You should have kept schtum about being late, Philippa.

Elena PetersMarch 17th 2009.

The picture captions are hilarious.

JungfreeShingleMarch 17th 2009.

I can't stand cover bands ever, although I prefer them to Horne and Corden and Davina McCall. Could I ask the writer if the Ian Brown character sang in tune, because if he did it wasn't very accurate a cover band.

Old ModMarch 17th 2009.

wher's Mani's scooter on that top photo? Did he leave it parked outside Cord again?

Pseud's CornerMarch 17th 2009.

welcome to my world... "Their pretending masked by a lack of pretension". Priceless. By the way, Philippa, where was the somewhere else you moved on to?

JesMarch 17th 2009.

I saw these as well and the review is spot on. Good fun but hardly memorable. And what do people think of Moho as a venue. I find it ok, atmospheric even but talk about tucked away.

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