How do I compare The Stone Roses in Phoenix Park and Bruce Springsteen in the RDS?
They were both midweek concerts. SR on Thursday 5th July and Bruce on Tuesday 17th July. They were both outdoors. If anything, I would be more of a fan of SR than Bruce. But Bruce was so clearly the winner that I now have to ask if the SR didn’t rip us all off?
Comparing the songs is nonsense. Bruce started 40 years ago as a Bob Dylan imitator, all flowery lines and trippy references. The Stone Roses could be compared lyrically to that early Bruce template, feminine references peppering their songs despite the laddish image. Obviously, on every stat alive Bruce kills SR but to my ears SR compete. They have probably the greatest debut album of the 80s and 90s which was after all when I was growing up and that should have the most impact on what songs I like to listen to. The nostalgia aspect of Bruce is lessened somewhat by me not being born when his hits were making him the hero he is today so that evens out the fight a bit, at least in my ears. I’m very fair altogether…
The stabbings in the Phoenix park the night afterwards had no dampening effect on the SR gig. They hadn’t happened yet. Yes, it had rained incessantly for the previous few days and the thought of an outdoor gig wasn’t as exciting as it might have been in a sunnier July. But it was the Stone Roses. One of my all time favourite bands. Together again despite record company court cases, arsehole managers, egos, all that stuff. It should have been the easiest gig of their lives but they blew it.
The sound was awful. The banter minimal. The solos dead. Brown’s voice offkey for whole songs. The setlist spot on. The rhythm section tight. The overall impression of laziness and a missed opportunity pervading the crowd and leaving everyone underwhelmed.
Bruce on the other hand, unbelievable. My guess is that he plays the RDS because the sound is good. He could fill Croke park or Aviva a few nights in a row but the sound in the RDS is the best outdoors in Ireland bar none. The band could probably sound good underwater but they really must work at the sound in the 35,000 capacity venue and it shows. Or maybe he just wants to be near the 4 seasons. Either way, the top priority should be the sound and it was excellent in RDS.
Does this extend to a straight fight between Aiken’s priorities and MCD’s? Dunno. I don’t know enough about either company and the specifics of each bands demands but I know that I now have an impression of MCD gigs as cheap, awful sounding and dangerous whereas I come away from Aiken’s with higher standards than I had come to expect in Dublin.
The Phoenix Park gigs reflected poorly on the Stone Roses and then went on to become infamous for much more serious reasons i.e. people getting stabbed and dying on drugs. The RDS gigs were legendary and this with all the weight of expectation, the same rain, the same economic background etc etc.
It goes to show that a band’s attitude and a bit more money invested in a gig can make all the difference