“Made of Stone”: Shane Meadows documents the Stone Roses’ triumphant 2012 reunion tour

By on March 28, 2018

Shane Meadows’ The Stone Roses: Made of Stone documents the Stone Roses’ triumphant and much-heralded return after sixteen years of inactivity, a cinematic resurrection of one of the legendary influential and often overlooked “Madchester” bands of the ’80s & ’90s.

Watch it now on Night Flight Plus.

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Charismatic but hot-tempered lead singer Ian Brown invited film director and lifelong Stone Roses fan Shane Meadows to document the band’s 2012 reunion tour — a resurrection no one thought possible — giving unprecedented access to the celebrated English filmmaker, who had never directed a documentary before.

As it turns out, Meadows was probably the perfect person to lens this nostalgic, introspective and occasionally wistful look back at one of the most lyrically articulate bands of the ’80s and ’90s British rock era, Manchester, England’s favorite sons.

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Meadows’ deftly-helmed documentary — arriving a decade and a half after they’d announced their breakup in 1996 — assures us that their legacy will not soon be forgotten by their fellow Mancunians and countrymen and women, and loyal fans all around the world.

Interviewed by NME during the film’s release, Meadows said:

“Making this film, I got to be part of something truly remarkable, the double decade awaited ‘resurrection’ of my all time favorite band… This film isn’t a history lesson, nor is it a two-hour concert film. It is a film about defying the odds, sticking it to the man and telling the cynics to shut their pie-holes!”

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Using his personal sense of humor and emotional gravitas to tell the band’s story, Meadows provides a close-up, behind-the-scenes look at the band during their top secret rehearsals, some backstage buffoonery and concert performances (complete with soaring aerial shots), interspersed with interviews and rare, never-seen-before archival footage.

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Read more about Shane Meadows and The Stone Roses: Made of Stone below.

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The 96-minute film — released theatrically in the UK on June 5, 2013, the same month the band played the Isle of Wight Festival — also captures the Stone Roses — Brown, John Squire (guitar), Gary “Mani” Mounfield (bass) and Alan “Reni” Wren (drums) — during three triumphant hometown shows, including a free show at the tiny, 1000-seat Parr Hall (in Warrington, Cheshire, England) and two final outdoor concerts at Manchester’s Heaton Park, in front of 220,000 loyal fans.

We’ve read that the tickets for both shows sold out in about fifteen minutes; in June of 2009, Oasis had played there to 210,000 fans over three nights.

Here’s their performance of “Fool’s Gold,” which is also the final song performed in Made of Stone, a 10-minute jam.

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The Stone Roses: Made of Stone begins with a voiceover from English filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, who defines the meaning of “happiness” and the joys of creative freedom while we watch singer Ian Brown addressing the band’s fans at Heaton Park.

Towards the end of the film, we hear another voiceover — during the very same reverential slow-motion close-up sequence of Brown onstage — this one from William S. Burroughs, who says:

“The camera and recorder can photograph and record … from a point of zero interference. The camera achieves a nirvana of uncritical acceptance. It rejects nothing. It clings to nothing. It fears nothing. It desires nothing. It hates noting. It loves nothing. Turn the zero camera on yourself…”

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The film’s title comes from the band’s single, “Made of Stone,” which was released in advance of the band’s hugely-acclaimed eponymous debut album, arriving in April of 1989.

According to an interview with guitarist John Squire, the song was “about making a wish and watching it happen,” adding: “Like scoring a goal in a Cup final, on a Harley Electra Glide, dressed as Spiderman.”

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The Stone Roses formed in 1983, in Manchester, England, which by the late ’80s had been nicknamed “Madchester” for being the city where so many of the decade’s popular British bands — including the Charlatans UK, James, Inspiral Carpets, Happy Mondays and Oasis — had come from, many of them, like the Stone Roses, mixing in groovy dance elements with their alt-Beatlesque rock/pop.

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Their immediate success often led to the outspoken Brown making outlandish statements during interviews with the UK press, like the time he told NME: “We’re the most important group in the world because we’ve got the best songs, and we haven’t even begun to show our potential yet.”

However, by the time of their underwhelming second album, the band were mired in lawsuits and personal rifts, and dissolved in acrimony in 1996.

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Shane Meadows was born in 1972, and raised in the the leafy West Midlands suburbs of Uttoxeter, England.

By the time he directed his 1997 feature debut, TwentyFourSeven — which won a handful of awards, including the prestigious FIPRESCI Award at the Venice Film Festival — he’d already made some thirty short films.

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Many of his films have been semi-autobiographical, based loosely on childhood events, mixing social realism and dark, nostalgic-tinged fantasy.

Prior to directing this documentary, his best known and most critically acclaimed films were This Is England (2007) and Dead Man’s Shoes (2004), which both drawn upon experiences from his past.

Watch The Stone Roses: Made of Stone on Night Flight Plus.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.