(All photos by Timothy Norris. Click photos for entire slideshow)
Seven albums and seventeen years into their career, Oasis still doesn't seem to have listened to a record made after 1973. The band's recently-released Dig Out Your Soul offers echoes of their era-soundtrack second album, 1995's (What's the Story) Morning Glory, yet it – and last night's show – is still basically the Beatles with some Who ballyhoo and stolen Marc Bolan.
Openers “Rock 'n Roll Star”, “Lyla” and Dig Out Your Soul's first single “The Shock of the Lightning” were as tame as the county fair-ready front rows. But Oasis gradually gained emotional traction with the T-Rex-affected “Cigarettes and Alcohol”; “Waiting for the Rapture”s tie-dyed “Come Together” stomp; and a poignant “The Masterplan,” sung by guitarist/bandleader Noel Gallagher. “Slide Away” (from the band's '94 debut, Definitely Maybe) personified what made Oasis famous: descending-progression melancholy and instant-nostalgia lyrics with a romanticism that's OK for blokes down the pub to drunkenly sway along to.
Aside from sneering 'n stooping frontlad Liam Gallagher's lairy, lip-of-the-stage posturing, Oasis have always been a static bunch – they'd be upstaged by their own bobbleheads. Looking like a colonial waiter in his collarless white shirt and Paul Weller hair, Liam's motionless “come on then” stance was more soccer terrace than rock concert. But as the anthems – “Morning Glory” (dedicated to Depeche Mode's Martin Gore); “Supersonic”; “Wonderwall”; “Champagne Supernova”; the Noel-sung “Don't Look Back In Anger”; and twinkly current single “I'm Outta Time” – cascaded across the Staples' soulless battlestar interior, musicality eclipsed (lack of) movement.
Ladies and gentleman: The Shroud
Gem Archer, increasingly a true lead guitarist, peeled off song-relevant licks and buoyant spotlight solos; new drummer Chris Sharrock – though almost too technically proficient for this still-baggy Madchester hangover – added flamboyant, Keith Moon tom-tom foolery. Patchouli-scented Sgt. Pepper undertones came courtesy of an incongruously Cousin Itt-ish touring keyboard player (brilliantly introduced as “The Shroud”).
Oasis are living jukebox, but the familiarity of their sonic components is comforting and their laddish swagger iconic. They closed with a vivid version of the Fab Four's “I Am The Walrus” – or maybe that's what they were playing all night. — Paul Rogers