Shane Meadows has been out of the directing game for a while. His last feature was the underrated (little-seen) documentary, Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee (2009); a mockumentary following rappers Le Donk (Paddy Considine) and Scor-zay-zee (real-life rapper Dean Palinczuk) as they prepare for the gig that could be their big break, supporting The Arctic Monkeys on tour.
The ‘career-defining concert’ is then familiar ground for Meadows, as he now makes a documentary about the reforming of his favourite band, The Stone Roses. Almost 20 years after the band split, Meadows follows them as they announce a comeback tour of Europe and a massive gig to 75,000 people in Heaton Park, Manchester – their old stomping ground.
Frontman Ian Brown (now 50) is a charismatic leader of the pack, and looks suitably like an ex-rocker swigging from a cup of tea. His bandmates look equally thrilled at the chance to reform, many of whom have been waiting for this day for 20 years.
Often dipping into archive footage of gigs and interviews with the band where they talk about their ambitions, we get a sense of the scale of their popularity and what they achieved.
But the film is as much a love letter to the band’s fans as it is to them, introducing us to people that have grown up with the music. Their loyalty is the lifeblood of the band, and they resurrect the spirit of the time.
Skirting over the reasons for the band’s split and the tension that remains, Made of Stone could be accused of making little more than an advert for the band’s UK tour and ‘best of’ album sales. However, guided by some excellent direction from Meadows, the film has a very personal touch and comes to life long before anyone has mentioned Heaton or Spike Island.