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Review: The Stone Roses live in Mexico City

April 11, 2013

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A warm up for their forthcoming headline slot at Coachella Festival, The Stone Roses’ performance in Mexico City was not only their first ever date in Mexico, but in all of Latin America.

Even in their heyday, the Roses barely achieved cult status in Mexico. It was no surprise then that the 20,000-capacity arena booked for their first appearance was soon downgraded to a more modest venue, the 7,500-capacity Pepsi Center WTC. Fortunately for those in attendance, this made it one of the Roses’ most intimate gigs since their low-key comeback at Warrington Parr Hall in May 2012.

There was no sign of the new material that Ian Brown had promised when the band announced their reformation back in October 2011, but then very few of the audience would have ever seen the Roses before and they seemed perfectly happy to hear nothing but the classics. Even so, it would have been nice if the strangely overlooked Elephant Stone and the underrated epic Breaking into Heaven had made their way into a setlist which remains essentially unchanged since last summer.

With no support band booked, the audience were treated to Roses favourites by groups such The Clash, Love and The Supremes being blasted out over the PA before the lights dimmed, the fab four appeared onstage and the bassline to traditional opener I Wanna Be Adored rumbled across the room.

The atmosphere was electric and Adored was perfect, with the band having extended the outro with a Doors-like rock jam. Further highlights included a stirring rendition of Ten Storey Love Song and the hypnotic groove of Fools Gold, which showcased both John Squire’s guitar heroics and the band’s astoundingly tight rhythm section.

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Where Angels Play merged seamlessly into Shoot You Down, as did Waterfall into the psychedelic Don’t Stop, with the latter proving the Roses can perform their songs backwards better than most bands can play theirs forwards, although Brown’s notoriously shaky vocals did take a turn for the worse on this number.

In terms of the sound, the only problem was that Squire’s guitars were far too low in the mix, meaning that – at the front at least – his monumental riffs were barely audible on certain songs toward the end of the set. These included the euphoric anthem This is The One, a bluesy Love Spreads – which received a truly rapturous reception from the Mexican crowd – and the ultimate closer I Am The Resurrection, which was preceded by a masterful drum solo from Reni.

Brown, who until recently was married to a Mexican, conversed little with the crowd but did make use of a few Spanish phrases. He surprisingly made no mention of the recent death of Margaret Thatcher but did make clear his attitude toward British nationalism by wiping his arse with a Union Jack that someone had thrown onstage.

As the gig ended the band were all smiles, hugging one another and milking the applause, suggesting there is still plenty of life in arguably the greatest reunion of the 21st century.

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Setlist:

I Wanna Be Adored

Mersey Paradise

(Song for My) Sugar Spun Sister

Sally Cinnamon

Ten Storey Love Song

Where Angels Play

Shoot You Down

Fools Gold

Waterfall

Don’t Stop

Made of Stone

This is the One

Love Spreads

She Bangs the Drums

I Am the Resurrection

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. branches permalink
    April 11, 2013 07:29

    thanks for this review, had noticed the venue had been changed didnt realise it was because they couldnt sell tickets, agreed set list should have changed by now and squires guitars were barely audible at heaton park last summer too

  2. April 11, 2013 08:17

    Great review. Looking forward to Finsbury Park in June.

  3. Samsee permalink
    April 11, 2013 08:37

    Brown really needs to cut out the poor lapses in his vocals like in waterfall and don’t stop. He either needs to nail waterfall or drop it. He is letting down the other band members and an awful lot of paying fans. Get a vocal coach ffs, he’s been singing these songs for a long time now and should have it sorted out. Quite happy to take the millions he’s being paid for this, but not get his finger out ( or his head out of his own arse) and get this dealt with. Getting boring now.

  4. April 12, 2013 15:39

    Definitely the best review I’ve seen of this gig, it’s good to have someone that actually knows the band write about them. This venue is terrible in terms of sound, but I think it wasn’t actually that bad with the Stone Roses as with previous gigs, like Metric or Megadeth. Still it was an amazing performance, and it made me sad that a band as important as the stone roses couldn’t sell the bigger venue.

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