Wednesday 19 November 2008

Oasis @ SECC 5th November 2008

5th November 2008 - Oasis at Glasgow SECC

I was a massive Oasis fan back in the day. They arrived at the perfect time for me. I first caught them back in April 1994, when I was 18, at Glasgow Tramway when they were supporting Boo Radleys. I was immediately hooked, buying a tshirt and poster after the gig. 1994 was an amazing year to be into Oasis. My next gig was in June at the old Cathouse. The band came on stage late and by that point the crowd had reached fever pitch. Oasis had them in the palm of their hand and boy did they know it. Noel talked to the crowd asking 'd'ye think we're any good?', all the time knowing that his band were on the verge of greatness, on the crest of a wave. We knew it by then. 'Supersonic' and 'Shaker Maker' had been released as singles and the band had cleverly allowed demos of 'Fade Away' and 'Cigarettes & Alcohol' to be released on free casettes given away with the NME.


After the Cathouse came one of the greatest gigs I have ever been to, Oasis playing the old NME tent at the first ever T in the Park, back when it ws held in Strathclyde Park. The tent was bulging at the seams as they came on. The atmosphere was electric and the band played an outstanding set of their debut album and traditional set close, a cover of The Beatles 'I Am The Walrus'. Someone in the crowd threw a football on the pitch and Noel and Liam took it in turns at doing keepie-uppie and volleying the ball back into the crowd, only to request back up on stage. The ball was always returned whenever they requested it.


In December of that year the band played the Barrowlands. The first gig ended in tears as Liam stormed off after three songs due to his voice going. Noel took over and played an acoustic set before the rest of the band joined him to close the gig. But he promised that if we kept our ticket stubs that the band would return with Liam in full voice. Noel was true to his promise and the band returned after Christmas to play an amazing gig, the sweat was dripping off the roof of the Barrowlands.


I'll save memories of Sheffield Arena in 95 and Knebworth in 96 for another time, lets cut to 2008.


Oasis are a strange band in 2008. I get the impression that Liam is really the only guy that wants to be in Oasis, the only person that believes in Oasis. Andy Bell and Gem are happy to count the money, delighted to have a pension to look forward to after Hurricane No 1 and Heavy Stereo. Noel would be better off going solo and who knows who the drummer is these days.


But Oasis still arouse the passion in me that I got when I was 18 at T in the Park or the Barrowlands. I know how good they can be, what they are capable of. But that run of singles, albums and gigs from 1994 to Knebworth in 1996 will never be repeated. Noel became a multi-millionaire and lets be honest, his songs have never been as good since. He lost the desire in my opinion, he's happy to refer to sales figures and the money in his band and good on him. He deserves it. But Oasis are in the position where everything they do will be compared t the glory days. if they had quit after Morning Glory, or even after Be Here Now they would be remembered fondly. Of course, they still are, it's just that it's the past that most people talk about, not the present or the future.


So the gig past by in a blur (pardon the pun). Highlights for me were 'Slide Away' and 'Don't Look Back In Anger'. Lowlights were the non-appearance of 'Live Forever' and the decision to close the set with a cover of The Beatles 'I Am The Walrus'. The aformentioned cover was a clever choice back in the days when Oasis were breaking but this is 2008 and Noel should have realised that the Oasis version is poor in comparison to The Beatles lysergic tinged original.


Out of the new tunes played, single 'The Shock of the Lightning' was the highlight. A menacing riff, catchy refrain and dare I say it, a bit of a groove. But to play songs like 'Meaning Of Soul'  off the last album instead of tunes like 'Acquiesce' or 'Live Forever' is just unexcusable.


But I am digressing. Let's get back to the set. 'Rock 'n' Roll Star' is still a perfect opener, it still soars where others can only dream of reaching, 'Lyla' delights the younger fans in the audience and despite being a bit of a plodder, it is still a half-decent song. The aformentioned 'Shock of the Lightning' is played a breakneck speed, it is obvious that the band enjoy playing it. As if to show off, the band then toss in 'Cigarettes & Alcohol' but then ruin it immediately by following it up with the poor 'Meaning of Soul'.


'To Be Where There's Life' and 'Waiting For The Rapture' represent an excuse for me to nip to the bar just before it closes to get two pints to see me through the rest of the gig. Things then pick up dramatically with a quartet of songs that many bands would die for 'Masterplan', 'Songbird', 'Slide Away' and 'Morning Glory'. Liam casually dedicates 'Songbird' to 'the wife'. Noel's voice sounds better than ever on 'Masterplan'. 'Slide Away' is an absolute masterpiece, Liam sings like his life depends on it and 'Morning Glory' cuts like a knife.


I supppose the audience might have needed a chance to rest their vocal chords after that quartet of tunes and it was provided by the bland 'Ain't Got Nothing' that was over almost as soon as it started, before Noel launched into 'The Importance of Being Idle'. The song brought one of the loudest cheers (and there were many) of the night from the crowd.


Liam returned to sing his new song 'I'm Outta Time', one of the few decent tracks of the new album and it may have a lengthy future in the Oasis set-list as it already had the crowd singing along. Liam then fought to outsing the crowd on the Oasis anthem 'Wonderwall' which brought a rapturous reception and thenthe band launched into debut single 'Supersonic'. The song still burns brightly, 14 years after it's release.


Noel kicks off the encore with a glorious, melodic, semi-acoustic version of 'Don't Look Back In Anger', before another new tune 'Falling Down'. It has a flowing melody and I would anticipate remaining in the set-list for a while. 'Champagne Supernova' sparks the predictable mass sing-a-long and rightly so. The aformentioned 'I Am The Walrus' ends proceedings.


My reaction - I had a good night out, but the SECC is a terrible venue for a concert. The sound quality is poor. Some great songs, the chance to relive my youth, a good night out with my brother and friends, but overall, possibly the last time I will go to see Oasis.

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