So…About That Oasis Concert

I’m, uh, “borrowing” someone’s wireless internet. The connection is about as shaky as a B.J. Ryan save opportunity–but still, it’s something while we wait for Shaw to come on Wednesday. Anyway, Oasis was already a week ago; I’ve been meaning to write about it ever since, but I’ve been caught up in moving house (which is almost done, and yet somehow I’m still not completely finished with the illegal basement suite) and a baffling series of hospital visits (two members of my soccer team were admitted to hospital last weekend; it’s a long story, obviously). Am I forgiven?

Right: so Oasis. After an intriguing opening set from Ryan Adams & the Cardinals (highlighted by a song which Adams dedicated to a friend whose face he apparently wants to suck off because she’s “so fucking hot”), Oasis strutted onto the stage and launched into “Rock n’ Roll Star.” This, as far as I’m concerned, should be the opening number for every single Oasis concert; as I argued back in June 2005, when I saw Oasis at the Molson Amphitheatre, “Who knew that Oasis had spelled out their entire musical raison d’etre on their very first Side 1, Track 1?” The same still holds true: “Rock n’ Roll Star” basically mapped out the band’s entire musical journey, and fourteen years later it still resonates. Gallagher Liam was clearly struggling with some of the notes (he was carrying a cold), but he nailed the climactic line–“You’re not down with who I am? Look at you all, you’re all in my hands tonight”–with requisite aplomb.

From there, Oasis went through their paces. Gallagher Liam oozed condescension yet was oddly genteel by his usual standards; Gallagher Noel seemed utterly indifferent; and the rest of the band…uh, having not kept up with Oasis’ bevvy of line-up changes I’m not exactly sure who they all were (although I do know Zac Starkey’s no longer the band’s drummer now that he’s back on permanent duty with the Who). Oasis debuted a bunch of new material, most of which sounded promising. The band hasn’t had a bona fide hit record since (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? in 1995; that might never change, what with the popular musical landscape in utter turmoil, but the new songs held their own against some of the band’s bigger hits. And speaking of hits: I got to hear “Supersonic” for the first time ever. As a set-closer it was anticlimactic; as a live song it was quality. “Morning Glory,” meanwhile, was a particular highlight.

The encore featured an acoustic rendition of “Don’t Look Back in Anger” and an epic “Champagne Supernova” (although it might’ve been a bit rushed), then ended with a cover of…”I Am The Walrus,” which actually closed the first Oasis concert I saw. Oasis fans have been grumbling about the tour’s setlist, and been pointing to the reemergence of “I Am The Walrus” as a sign that the band is going through the motions. I disagree. Oasis were never about reinventing the wheel: they simply write good music and then play it, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Indeed, as “Rock n’ Roll Star” concludes: “It’s just rock n’ roll.” Which it is–and which explains Oasis’ enduring popularity (the Pengrowth Saddledome was sold out last Saturday). They are what they are–no more, no less.

You’re not down with that? You’re in their hands regardless.

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