It wasn't easy to be a US fan of the Stone Roses back in their early days. The band were a truly English phenomenon and it was hard to find their music here in the States, let alone like-minded fans. Things haven't gotten much easier, more than 20 years later.
Made of Stone, which hit US theaters in early November and is released here today on Blu-ray and DVD, has been out in the UK and elsewhere for more than 6 months. Fortunately, for fans of the band the wait was worth it.
Director Shane Meadows' film chronicling the Roses' 2012 reunion is a warm, fan's eye view of the band and perhaps his best work yet. Since documentaries aren't really unbiased anymore, who better to tell the story of the once-warring Stone Roses' return than uber fan Meadows? His excitement in meeting his heroes and telling the story unfolding in real-time around him is palpable, and anyone caught up in last year's fervor surrounding the reunion will be just as excited as the director.
Meadows follows singer Ian Brown, guitarist John Squire, bassist Gary “Mani” Mounfield and drummer Alan “Reni” Wren as they announce their improbable reunion, stage a small warm-up gig (fans had to bring an original album, CD inlay or official memorabilia to qualify for one of the 1,000 tickets available), head to Europe for festival gigs that test the band's conviction to its reunion (Reni storms off at one point, threatening not to return) and culminates in a triumphant return to the Roses' beloved Manchester with two enormous shows at Heaton Park. (The Stone Roses Coachella performance clearly wasn't representative of the magic the band could still muster.)
While this isn't the sort of music documentary that transcends its subjects and will interest anyone outside the core fanbase, it's an honest and loving portrait of a once-unthinkable reunion featuring some truly exciting performances.
So whether you were one of the early adopters or just recently discovered the Stone Roses as a result of all the hubub over the reunion last year, this is one to pick up.
This article is copyright 2013 by Jeff Slate. No part may be reprinted or referenced without permission and/or attribution. All rights reserved.