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Made of Class! ....Review of Shane Meadows 'Made of Stone' DVD Release
on 23 October 2013
Bought it, watched it, loved it. Director Shane Meadows ( 'This is England' 'Dead Man's Shoes') doesn't go down the biographical route in his documentary which celebrates the reforming of 90's Icons The Stone Roses. There are no probing and intimate interviews with Ian, Mani, Reni & John its simply all about the music and fans as it should be.
However for 'newbies' to the music of the Roses their history gets documented in narration by the band themselves with revealing archive footage and TV interviews. Shane Meadows has been unfairly criticized by the the odd reviewer for not adopting the inquisitive journalistic approach in this documentary but for me and countless others I'm sure he was perfectly right to focus on the music and fans and not the personal lives of individual band members There are countless biographies around on 'The Stone Roses' so the message is resoundingly clear, if your after more in-depth personal information on the individual band members go buy a book or surf the Internet and rightly so.
Shane, a huge Stone Roses himself, lets the camera roll and lets the music and fans do the talking. There is wonderful rehearsal and warm up gig footage that ends with their culmination gig at Heaton Park. When a free gig at Warrington is announced on the day the gig was to take place itself Shane is there with camera in hand to capture devoted fans arrive unceremoniously as they queue in hope and sheer desperation to get one of only 1000 tickets issued.
There are some great moments here as fans talk candidly about their love of the Stone Roses and how the music has meant so much to them in their lives. As with the age of the band members many are middle aged people now. Some arrive with their various memorabilia from back in their youth when The Stone Roses first exploded onto the British music scene with the debut self-titled album in 1989. Stories of children being quickly dumped at childminders, people coming in their paint covered overalls, lies being told to employers to get out of work, all for the chance of being one of the lucky few to acquire a ticket.
Later on during their warm up gigs in Europe an incident in Amsterdam results in drummer Reni walking off stage and things unfortunately go from bad to worse as he decides to go home. Shane decides to bypass the details of this event in the film other than suggesting it could have stemmed from a monitor problem that Reni had experienced on stage. I think Shane was right to do this as things behind the scenes were clearly volatile at this point and I'm sure Ian, Mani & John as well as their band management had more important things to do at the time rather talking about it on camera.
Its then onward's to Film's finale at Heaton Park as Shane films the band in all their reformed glory as they perform a guitar fest 15 minute version of' 'Fools Gold'. John Squire may be 50 years old now but he hasn't lost one ounce of his talent. He's even better. He demonstrates yet again what a dynamic Guitarist he is and why he deservedly came 13th in a BBC poll of the most influential guitarists from the past 30 years.
Its John's guitar playing that defined the Roses sound as with Liam's voice in 'Oasis' without either musician both bands wouldn't have climbed to their respective musical heights.
Shane Meadows documentary is a job finely done and explores a reunion of a glorious band consisting of what are now middle aged men but who still have more than it takes to influence a new generation as they did in the early 90's. Whether they'll stay together long enough and write new material for this to occur is another question. Their comeback album 'The Second Coming' from 1994 after a 5 year hiatus may not have appealed to every debut album Roses fan and music critique who were waiting with bated breath for their much delayed follow up. However after listening to a lot of British guitar music around these days its clear and evident it wasn't that bad after all.
The only one negative aspect to the Film is that Shane didn't ask a few questions pertaining to new material. In one scene during their rehearsal sessions the band have a blackboard setup with a list of their familiar songs to work on but clearly noticeable on the list is one scribbled 'Newie'. Shane spots this and makes reference to it but unfortunately doesn't pursue it with band members at a later stage. Shame, that would've surely made for an interesting talking point.
I suspect you wouldn't get favorable odds at the bookmakers of The Stone Roses reformation having any chance of lasting a decent time span as historically things haven't been that lasting. However in the meantime if you are a fan of The Stone Roses or just come across the band as a young and new fan you need to own this film......9.5 /10