So, to set the scene, I went with 3 other mates and we had a few sharperners first in Chadderton. We’d gone first via the big Decathlon in Stockport, waterproofs, wellies etc, we’d been pre-warned by other mates that the site was a mudbath and we were not to be dissapointed.
Got down there about 5ish to the strains of the Farm and Mick Jones doing ‘Bankrobber’ by the Clash, they also did ‘Rock the Casbah‘ and ended with that classic number ‘All Together Now’ (the tune that Southport FC run out to at Haig Avenue, there’s a FACT for you). After that it was time to negotiate the bar, you had to go up and get as many as you could carry as it took nearly 30 mins by about 7pm to get a pint. Far too many food stalls and not enough beer stalls, they didn’t really think about the demographics of their audience and what they were there for.
After that it was time for (as they were introduced) ‘From Kingston, Jamaica, Aston “Family Man” Barrett and the Wailers’-He’s the only original member of the band left so they traded on his name a bit. It was essentially a Bob Marley classics set – Jammin’, No Woman No Cry and a perfect festival setlist, they did well.
The last support act was Professor Green, which I think was a bit of silly scheduling to be honest. Give a load of 40 somethings two bands performing Clash and Bob Marley songs and then put on some bright young thing that everyone’s heard of but not many would have known his songs. Primal Scream, like they got on Friday, would have been the perfect final support act but a minor quibble.
As the Supremes ‘Stoned Love’ faded the four local heroes strode onto stage. Just like I remember them except a bit older and fatter. Mani sporting a loud shirt, John Squire the guitar hero, Reni looking really cool and Ian Brown owning the stage.
The low rumbling of ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ and 70,000 voices rose as one into the night, fantastic moment. Then straight into my favourite Roses song, ‘Mersey Paradise’. Ian Brown’s voice was (as expected) not always in tune but that didn’t matter, helps when you’re backed by three amazing musicians.
Ian Brown could still write a book and how to be a frontman, he was born to do it, loads of love for him out in the crowd, even from the City fans! John Squire was something else, his mad, psychedelic guitar just takes the songs off into all sorts of directions. I think the 10 minute version of ‘Fools Gold’ in the middle of the set possibly my highlight, really showed their showmanship and musical talent off to the full.
All the classics got an airing, a lot of people just remember that legendary debut album but they have got way more than that in their back catalogue. Ian Brown seguing from ‘Love Spreads‘ into a rap of ‘Paid In Full’ by Eric B and Rakim, was a slightly random if enjoyable highlight. Mani began ‘This Is The One’ by holding up the back of his guitar with an MUFC slogan on there, the crowd went mental for that one, top buzz. Then the end ‘I Am The Resurrection’ and a huge fireworks display over the east Manchester sky
Whilst the organisation and logistics were piss-poor (the great British summer didn’t help with that one) that in the end doesn’t count for a jot. I’ll be able to say that I was there. After 20 years it was a big risk but a huge triumph and I loved every minute. This is the one.
For a while, Everclear were one of my favourite bands, having released two of the best alternative rock albums of the mid-to-late 90s. Can Invisible Stars put Art Alexakis back on track after years of line-up changes and cash-in releases?