PART I: WHAT THE WORLD IS WAITING FOR
It was late 23.59, 1 minute before 00.00 in the early morning of November 14th 2012 when The Stone Roses officially announced a gig in Jakarta via twitter. Lots of congratulations and joyful texts flood both my twitter account and messenger. I was crying happily knowing that they finally would come to Indonesia. And sure I was not the only one, everybody was overjoyed by the news. Back then in the mid 90’s when British Invasion stroke USA, it also indirectly invaded South East Asia, even bigger here in Indonesia. Local Britpop scenes were blooming and marked the birth of local big names nowadays. Aside from what the true definition of “British Pop”, most of these pioneers were musically influenced by Blur, The Smiths, The Cure and The Stone Roses. More than a decade later, started in 2009, series of British band has quenched their Indonesian fans’ thirst by having successful gigs here; Placebo, Kula Shaker, Suede, Stereophonics, Lightning Seeds, Happy Mondays, Shed Seven, Morrissey, and Ian Brown himself, are just few names to mention. This maybe put a consideration to The Stone Roses that it is about time to pay a visit to their loyal fans in a far-east country named Indonesia.
On July 22nd 2012, The Stone Roses visited Singapore for a concert in an Indoor Stadium, I was one of the people flew to the Singapore catching-up their performances there. Looking at the crowd, I can tell more than 30% of the crowds are Indonesian, about 40% are English, and the rest came from other Asian countries. As a part of @StoneRoses_ID, a twitter account of Indonesian Fan-base of The Stone Roses, me and some of my friends went to the gig on a noble mission; hitting the front-row and throwing a red t-shirt with “INDONESIA WANTS THE STONE ROSES” written on it, onto the stage! Yes by a chance of luck, we kept on attracting the Monkey King’s attention by waving the tees and we did it, we threw the ‘hope t-shirt’ onto the stage, and Ian read the message.
Three months later I heard from competent sources that The Stone Roses were on their way in putting Jakarta into their 2013 tour schedule. Tired of being hit by fake promoters and hoax concerts who scam some of the fan-bases, I did not believe it at the first time, but the proofs were presented and I feel like my lung is exploding! Since for about 2 months I may not tell anyone, until the time comes for the band to announce it themselves, there it goes they announced a gig in Lapangan D Senayan Jakarta on 23rd February 2013.
Indonesian fans are well-known for their loyalty and madness, in a good way of course, we show our supports to bands we love, we collect their stuff and records, we travel all over the globe to catch their performances, we hold tribute gigs, we sing their songs and we do remember every single line of the lyrics. Morrissey once wrote in a letter to his True To You zine about Indonesian crowd:
“I have never in my life experienced a crowd such as that of Jakarta,
who sang each song so loudly that their voices caught all of the onstage microphones
and warped the sound into a mad bellow of love.
Later, backstage, we were numbed by the joy that Jakarta had given us”
This statement came from Moz himself has driven me to bring the greatest crowd The Stone Roses could have in Asia. Two weeks before the concert we held Third Coming: A Tribute to The Stone Roses as a warm-up gig before the event. Tickets were sold continuously, and we also made a daily countdown from D-100 until the D-Day. These are all to make sure that we can maximize the heat so that The Stone Roses will enjoy their first ever gig in Jakarta.
PART II: YOUR FINAL FLIGHT CAN’T BE DELAYED
On Friday night 22nd February, I managed to the airport to catch the fabulous four with some of my friends. It was only the four of us in the airport to greet them as fans, since the arrival was kept in silence. And I do believe that The Stone Roses are not that kind of bands who likes to be in the bright spotlight surrounded by paparazzi and screaming groupies, though I’m sure back then they were there in such scenery. After their Emirates flight from Dubai had been delayed for about 90 minutes (contrary to Made of Stone lyrics), The Stone Roses finally arrived in Jakarta – Indonesia at 11 pm local time.
Gary Mani Mounfield was the first came out of the arrival gate and I greeted him ”MANI! Heeey!” I shook his hands and he looked really tired, I realized I couldn’t bother him too much with pictures or stuff, I just asked him to sign a paper and that’s it. Second person to come out was Ian Brown, the Monkey King strolled down the gate in a flashy attitude, not only shaking his hands, I also did ‘bro-fist’ with him while saying Happy Birthday. We chat a little about Singapore, asked if he remembered us and read the message, he said he remembered that I was the loud one in the front-row, whether he really remembered or not, I was petrified with his statement. He was the nicest one to take picture with, since he kept on waving “Come-on-take-another-picture” gesture. While we were posing madly with Ian, I saw a man in a black suit, dragged his luggage, passing us quietly in a hurry, though half side of his face were covered by his hair, I knew it was him, IT WAS JOHN SQUIRE! I rushed over him while screaming “JOHN! JOHN! JOHN!” he stopped by, turned his head and answered “Yes?” elegantly. That probably was one moment I went straight to heaven and back again to earth a second after. I hugged John dearly and welcomed him while saying how grateful I was to have him coming, how I was a huge fan of him that his guitar plays has influenced my life since 1997. Too bad we failed to catch Reni, he passed through a different gate, so that we have to be satisfied meeting 3 out of 4 Roses. On our way home in a highway, thrilled by what we’ve just experienced, we opened the car’s windows and screamed from the top of our lungs!
PART III: THIS IS THE ONE!
It is finally February 23rd, a day we’ve been waiting for decades. Though I’ve watched them in Singapore, it is surely a different excitement if the band would come to your home country. Crowd has started showing up in the venue from 2 pm, while the gig was scheduled to be started at 8 pm. I came at 3 and I was lucky enough sneaking into the sound-check (!). It was restricted for public but somehow I managed it inside. I saw Ian in white shorts, Mani in red tees, John again in his black suit and Reni with one leg of his pants weirdly folded into his left thigh. I heard them joking around and started playing Sally Cinnamon, I was alone near the FOH, until the crew caught me. I was told to get out but in fact I just moved to the back side of the bar and stayed there until the sound-checking ended, watching the Roses playing random songs, along with two other lucky intruders.
The warm red sun gave up and sunk into the sea, it is 6 pm already and the crowds are queuing at the gate to the venue. It was a long queue, 5000 people are there to witness the living legend. After sets of playback songs while the stage was being cleared, and finally The Supremes’ Stoned Love was played, everybody started to scream out. The crowd were raging when the fabulous four Roses came on stage, Mani started hitting us with I Wanna Be Adored, as usual, it is amazing to see how people can sing-along mouthed its intro bassline like “Woo-oo-ooo!”, Mersey Paradise came after, this is an anthem to our local scene and one of the most well-known and most-played Roses song in Indonesia after Waterfall. Without any delay, John played Sugar Spun Sister intro as Ian sang “Her hair, soft drifted snow..”, it goes smooth and serene. Until Sally the crowds were never happy, we need it so much more! Sally Cinnamon went straight after, and the crowds were heated-up again by Ten Storey Love Song, one of the most spoken song in Second Coming. Where Angels Play blown us away, as one of my Top 5 Roses songs goes into the outro where John played his solo part, Ian gave away pairs of tambourine and everybody’s pushing their luck screaming IAN!! After chilling-out with Shoot You Down, Reni’s beat marked the intro of Fool’s Gold, everybody’s dancing dope with eyes closed, there was small technical issue when Mani’s bass sound went off, John and Mani looked at each other confused and Ian keep playing his tambourine greeting the crowds.
The next songs were Something’s Burning, not everybody’s familiar with this B-Side of One Love, so most people were chilling while taking pictures, and Waterfall , the crowd went mental, this danceable song is the most anthemic, people goes crowd-surfing. Don’t Stop is one of songs I keep wondering how did they play it in reverse, still there’s a funny thing happening when they’re slipping a bit out-of-beat and Reni was like “Manii…!” while shaking his head. Made of Stone and This Is The One were proven to brought their glorious refrains to the top, as the crowd turned into a massive choir of “Sometimes I.. Fantasize..!” And one of my friend in the middle crowd reported at T.I.T.O she looked from the middle to the back every single mouth was shouting “THIS IS THE ONE!”. Three last songs began with Love Spreads, with his guitar slides John showed-off what makes him called as Zeus of Riffs in the 90s, the outro lasts for about 5 minutes or more, his skill and showmanship are never to be argued. She Bangs The Drums brought us almost to the ending, madness turns into reality as the full version of I Am The Resurrection has broken all the crowds into deafening screams and full-hearted lasses and lads. It is finally the ending, Roses did a group-hug and some of us were soaked in tears. But we were too overjoyed to be sad, and I was too mad to fight for the setlist, with another push of luck and helps from some fellows, yeah I got the setlist!
PART IV: BYE BYE BADMAN. BYE BYE.
I usually call it a gig-hangover, but this time I bet I will not move-on from the hype at least for a month later, or maybe never. But early in the morning I went with a couple of my friends to see the Roses at breakfast time in the hotel. Pushing our last luck to see Reni in person. We met Ian after breakfast, he looked fresh and fit, we talked a bit, I asked about him kissing United’s flag which a fan threw onto the stage that night, he said he was gladly kissing the flag but Reni, as a huge City fan, ruined everything by grabbing the flag, wiping it into his ass and throwing it back to the crowd. I also asked how does it feel to be 50 and he replied he might or might not like it, he was afraid he has left his golden days behind, on which I’d prefer not to believe in it. He likes the crowd. Since it was his second visit to Indonesia, I bet he will come again with or without Roses, for few more times. It was a nice chat we laughed a lot and I said Thank You, on behalf of all Indonesian fans, and he went to the gym after.
After waiting for almost all day long, Ian told us before that probably the rest of the bands were still in bed (or bath? Sorry my English sucks). So we waited until the check-out time. Within hours Ian went back and forth to the mall and into the streets alone, leaving us worrying as if bad things may happen to him if people know who he is. Later in the afternoon he introduced his son as “My Son!” before they took a walk, he’s taller than Ian and seems a bit shy, since he didn’t want to take any picture.
Around 5 pm the whole bands did the hotel check-out. Along with the promoters and some other fans we greeted them, taking pictures and some videos too. Mani said he loves Indonesia, so it is maybe another good sign that they’d love to comeback. After John and Ian caught up with Mani, the party went outside the hotel lobby and Reni was still nowhere to be seen. After a while, finally the bull-energized drummer named Alan Wren showed up, such a rare moment, I finally got him signed my paper. Rushing into the car, I shook John’s hands for the very last time, I said to him while staring at this quiet painter’s deep eyes “Thank You John, Thank You for coming, I’ve been waiting for this day for sixteen years, everyday”. And then everybody went into the cars that brought them to catch their next flight to New Zealand. The Stone Roses left the country around 8 pm, and it was the saddest farewell I have ever bid. (Thakis)