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70'000 Oasis Fans Promised Refunds After Delayed Concert Start
First Power Loss during Rock N Roll Star , Oasis , Heaton Park
Everyone who’s kept their tickets will get a full refund. This is a free gig from now on.” So said Noel Gallagher as he led Oasis on stage for the third time to pick up the threads of a gig that looked for a while as if it was never going to get under way.
A faulty generator had led to the power being cut during the opening number, Rock and Roll Star. The band tried again, and Lyla was cut short in similar fashion — after which the decision to switch to a back-up generator meant that there was a nervous delay of 30 minutes before the band was able to start again.
As a cold wind blew across the grounds of Heaton Park, the 70,000 fans endured the delay with remarkable fortitude, amusing themselves by throwing toilet rolls and pints of beer into the chill evening air. But it nonetheless seemed a generous gesture to declare full refunds all round. And the mood picked up notably as the band waded into a series of up-tempo songs including Shock of the Light, Cigarettes and Alcohol and Roll With It.
This was the first of three gigs — total ticket sales: 210,000 — at a venue not previously frequented by rock acts and which has not witnessed crowds on such a scale since Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass there in 1982.
“I came here to see the Pope,” Liam Gallagher said. “He was all right but he didn’t have many tunes.” As if to remedy the situation, Liam dedicated (What’s The Story?) Morning Glory to the late pontiff. Liam was in good form generally, looming around the stage in a green cagoule with his hands in his pockets. He dedicated My Big Mouth to himself.
Compared with the theatrical extravaganzas that have become the norm thanks to recent shows by Beyoncé and Britney, Oasis put on a performance of supreme nonchalance and, despite some stunning lighting effects, rather limited visual appeal. But the Gallagher brothers, although by nature static performers, exuded a bullish charisma and a swaggering energy that only seemed to feed off the adverse conditions.
By the time that they reached the curfew of 11pm, they were still in full flow. Wonderwall and Live Forever lifted the crowd and who sang Look Back in Anger with very little help from the band.
Noel, however, was by now having second thoughts about the refund issue. “Bear in mind, we’re not going to get paid for this,” he said. “Rock stars have got to earn a living too, you know.” The band’s bravado and a repertoire of songs that have achieved an unassailable popular appeal, rescued an event that could have been a disaster.
The days of internal bust-ups and feuding both on stage and off are behind them. But they have not turned into a heritage act yet and with their backs against the wall, they showed the old stubborn Mancunian spirit. On balance, however, it was a night they will probably not want to remember.