“Who is and who isn’t…?” The Stone Roses played their iconic gig at Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom on this day 30 years ago
“Who is and who isn’t? Who is and who isn’t? Who is and who isn’t?“
Ian Brown’s clarion call at the start of set closer I Am The Resurrection is just one of a host of iconic moments from The Stone Roses’ now-legendary gig at Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom, which took place on this day 30 years ago (12 August 1989).
Immortalised in the 1991 video release Blackpool Live, the Geoff Wonfor-directed footage pictures the band just on the cusp of superstardom – pivotal single She Bangs The Drums was released just weeks earlier, and seminal tracks from the group’s May 1989 debut album were starting to get serious airplay.
The Blackpool gig, some argue, was the spark that lit the touchpaper once and for all, with Brown commenting later that the beachside gig was the moment that he knew the band had made it.
And all for the princely sum of £6. Bargain.
A Record Mirror review of the gig from a week or so later equated the gig with the Beatles’ legendary Shea Stadium concerts, in a venue more accustomed to ballroom dancing than sweaty, acid house-era abandon.
‘These guys are massive,’ the review reads. ‘We’re talking near hysteria as the hottest wah wah pedal in town signals ‘Elephant Stone’. ‘Made Of Stone’ is similarly play to near perfection – it’s all done with consummate ease. Hendrix lives! Resurrected in John Squire, he’s an influence much in evidence tonight, and effectively so in a setting of such grandeur.
“Lo and behold, once ‘She Bangs The Drums’ has been despatched with not a little aplomb, ‘I Am The Resurrection’ brings the proceedings to a fitting end, complete with crazy ‘getyourrocksoff’ instrumental funk’.
On Twitter earlier today, Dave Haslam, who was the support DJ for the gig, shared his memories on Twitter, noting that he was paid £185 for his efforts.
I got paid £185 to DJ at this, and two guests. Also the best gig I ever saw the Roses play. Thirty years ago today – 12th August 1989. pic.twitter.com/Fmkp9kB56M— Dave Haslam (@Mr_Dave_Haslam) August 12, 2019
Within weeks of the Blackpool gig, Reni hats were de rigeur, enthusiastic teens were seeking to emulate Cressa’s crazy dancing, and the group itself was embarking on a world tour, taking in locations such as France, Germany, Italy and even Japan.
The Roses had arrived.
The Stone Roses at Empress Ballroom, Blackpool, 12 August 1989 (setlist)
I Wanna Be Adored
(Song for My) Sugar Spun Sister
Made of Stone
She Bangs the Drums
Where Angels Play
Shoot You Down
I Am the Resurrection