He had stepped in at the last minute on Wednesday as a favour to Paul Weller, and boy, did it show. For whatever cynics claim, Oasis are much more than the sum of Noel's parts. You really hungered for Liam and that rattle of catarrh in his chest. Noel's voice made you tingle when he conquered the high notes on "Morning Glory", but there was no conflict in his performance, unless you count the one between good and evil that was his version of "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away".
In that respect, he was a dream of a support act, with all the soporific connotations that implies: he set the tone for his mentor perfectly. You knew that there would be more chance of Weller reverting to, say, "The Eton Rifles" than him dumping his newfound pipe-and-slippers mode of songwriting. He's been heard loudly proclaiming that no, he isn't turning into Eric Clapton. Clearly, the mod doth protest too much. He sweats and growls more than Clapton but the texture of their writing is alarmingly similar. And darling, he wasn't wonderful tonight.
He was nearly rescued by the psychedelic lighting (though I don't think "Wild Wood" needed a slide projection of a bunch of trees to press it home). And the band were ferocious. The new album, Stanley Road, sounds as though it's been gathering dust in the attic for years, but they blew the cobwebs away by executing drive-by shootings on the likes of "The Changingman". Weller was at the wheel, wrestling his guitar with all the verve of a man who can't actually play a note but loves looking mean in the mirror.
Enthusiasm is a good thing to have when you're plunging into the likes of "Shadows of the Sun", a plodding jam (as opposed to a throbbing Jam) more painful than having the foxtail removed from your Lambretta without an anaesthetic. "Into Tomorrow" and "Sunflower" still sound choppy and nasty. And there was a Noel-augmented encore of "Come Together", which was either the second or 32nd Lennon/McCartney cover of the night, depending on whether you think Weller and Gallagher are professional fans or shoplifters. Sadly, it was the next best reason after Anthology 1 to boycott the Beatles.
RYAN GILBEYReuse content