Going to university in Manchester in the UK was a fascinating experience as far as that city’s musical heritage goes. For example, the mere utterance of the words “Stone Roses” continues to inspire a hushed reverence 22 years after the release of their landmark debut album and 15 years after their fairly spectacular implosion. Rumors of a reunion have been circulating tirelessly for the best part of ten years and have led to fairly vehement and blunt denials from the band members.

Now, in the most unlikely change of heart since the Pixies reformed, the line-up of Ian Brown, John Squire, Mani, and Reni will be playing their first shows together in 17 years. The Stone Roses have announced details of two huge hometown shows in Manchester at the 75,000-capacity Heaton Park, along with plans for a world tour in 2012. The announcement was made in front of an expectant press conference in a London hotel. Tickets for the Manchester shows will go on sale (and no doubt sell out within minutes) on Friday morning, while details of the world tour are no doubt forthcoming.

Considering the nature of the break-up and the very public fallout between lead vocalist Ian Brown and lead guitarist John Squire, as well as the party line that the band members have stuck to for so long, the reunion is a huge shock. Although there will be mumblings about “doing it for the money” (previous rumors suggest that the band has been offered eye-watering sums for festival headlining slots), it is also safe to say that the demand for tickets beyond Manchester will be just as strong.

Whether it will be a triumphant comeback with tens of thousands singing along to “I Am The Resurrection” or a horror show to compare with the infamous Reading Festival performance of 1996 is difficult to tell, but if and when Los Angeles dates are announced, it’s safe to say it will be a hot ticket either way.

Confirmed Stone Roses Dates:

06/29/12- Heaton Park, Manchester, UK
06/30/12- Heaton Park, Manchester, UK

For more information, visit The Stone Roses’ website.