While the self-titled first album by the Stone Roses is a pure gem, an incredible British document from the late ’80s, full of wistful brilliance — all the live performances of theirs I’ve ever heard from the period are fucking awful. Why? Because singer Ian Brown, while an incredible songwriter, could never stay in-tune. The rest of the Roses’ playing is usually pretty tight on the live boots I’ve heard, but Brown is at times so off-key that it makes it almost not worth it to listen to the set. Or maybe I’m being too harsh; in any case, I’m not the only one who’s had this opinion. Of their “Blackpool Live” video, Eammon McCusker of the UK site DVD Times sez:
“Years ago, an old friend of mine and I had a contest to find the worst live music video. Admittedly, I had little to offer – a Suede tape and a cacophonous bootleg of Sonic Youth, both of which paled in comparison to his entire collection – but The Stone Roses’ Blackpool Live stood out as being something of a lost classic. Whilst the band – Reni, John Squire and Mani were on as strong a form as they ever were – Ian Brown’s singing was, well, weak. Actually, it was awful and were it not for seeing him onstage, it’d be easy to be convinced that he’d been replaced by a double who only matched his ability to look like Brown with an inability to sing.”
Still, I think this set is worth it because it was recorded at ground zero for Stone Roses mania, late 1989, when their album first dropped.