Nobody could ever accuse Oasis of swanking it up when it comes to concerts.
Nobody could ever accuse Oasis of swanking it up when it comes to concerts. A few fairy lights round the backline, a modest light-show, and five or six virtually immobile blokes who've mostly undergone personality bypasses. Their stage wear is their street clothes, and the brothers Gallagher have managed to replace departed band members with new players who make even less impression on one's consciousness than their low-key predecessors. At least Bonehead had a certain lumpen charm about him; the new guys are virtually transparent, leaving the current Oasis almost entirely reliant on the shabby charisma of Liam.
And he is in typical swaggering, monkey-boy mode, fetchingly attired in white hoodie, red knee-length shorts and shades. Occasionally, he mumbles some between-song banter, but it's mostly indecipherable. His brother was in his usual dark denim outfit, and the other guys - well, the more I try to remember anything about them, the more they recede.
Tonight's show is the opening salvo in the promotional campaign for the new Oasis album, Don't Believe The Truth, which Noel has been bigging up as their "best since Definitely Maybe", a litany repeated for every Oasis album since Be Here Now. And on the strength of the new material premiered here, it's just as fanciful a claim. The band jump feet-first into the new stuff, opening with a droney, plodding piece called "Turn up the Sun", and the new single, "Lyla", which is warmly greeted as their latest singalong anthem. In a way, it does seem to herald a change in the Oasis formula, being based not on The Beatles but the Stones, lifting the vocal melody from "Street Fighting Man".
Not that Noel has finished with the Fabs, of course. Another new number, "The Importance of Being Idle", has the prancing oompah charm of a McCartney granny-grabber. "Surprisingly, sounds like The Beatles," mutters the fellow next to me, sardonically.
Ultimately, Noel's claims for Don't Believe the Truth are roundly rebuffed by the band's own back catalogue. There's a huge wave of euphoria that washes over the audience as the opening brace of unfamiliar songs is at last followed by "(What's the Story) Morning Glory": this is what we're all here for, to bathe in the familiar anthems, not to hear plodding new material.
From that point on, the show is defined by a series of grand community-singing exercises of "Cigarettes & Alcohol", "Live Forever", "Champagne Supernova", "Rock'n'Roll Star" and the encores of "Wonderwall" and "Don't Look Back in Anger", during which it becomes clear that Oasis's great gift to pop is to bring the football terraces into the concert halls. Alas, the prognosis for the new album, on tonight's showing, may be less a tilt at the Premiership title than a struggle for mid-table security.
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