I was surprised to read a quote from film critic Peter Bradshaw which said that this could be the best film that Shane Meadows has made to date: quite a claim considering his body of work! But when you read the article it actually say’s, and I quote, ‘In its sheer warmth, energy and sense of purpose, this film could be Meadow’s best so far’. Which to be fair you cannot argue with. It was obviously a labour of love for the director who does not hide the fact that he is a great fan. He presents a welcome tribute to this influential Manchester band of the late 80’s and early 90’s a band that in fact has only released two studio albums: The Stone Roses in 1989 and after long drawn out problems from their record label Silvertone, Second Coming in December 1994 for Geffen. The band formally split in October 1996.
The documentary opens with an Alfred Hitchcock voiceover spouting some claptrap about happiness but fortunately the film manages to carry on without any further utterances from this over rated weirdo. Meadows follow’s the band while they prepare for their reunion tour that climaxed with three ‘homecoming’ concerts at Manchester’s Heaton Park in July 2012 these concerts form the starting and finishing point for the film. In between we get a brief history of their split, some unintelligible charter at a press conference that took place at the Soho Hotel in London to announce ‘that they were putting the band back together again’. Rehearsals for the tour are interspersed with more history of the group. But the best part of the film is the amazing scenes when a gig is announced on Facebook at the Parr Hall in Warrington, which has a capacity of 1100! Fans could get free tickets on a first come first served basis as long as they had with them some items of Roses memorabilia. Interviews with fans of all ages who explained the reasons they wanted to attend the gig were very entertaining. And the excitement generated by this announcement has to be seen to be believed, even Shane Meadows could not contain his excitement. While the set was being built in Heaton Park the band embarked on a warm up tour of Europe including Barcelona, Lyon and Amsterdam where we witnessed the fragile nature of the bands line up when the drummer Alan ‘Reni’ Wren walked out over sound problems.
As a portrait of a band The Stone Roses: Made of Stone (2013) is a great tribute to four very talented young Manchurians who never really fulfilled their world potential. But that does not seem to matter when you see the capacity crowd of 75000 absolutely lapping up the bands performance. A new album has been promised and I know one film director who will certainly be purchasing a copy. Now Shane how about another of your gritty feature film’s?