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A red-faced Liam and Noel returned with a full-refund vow.
Rating: * * * *
As homecomings go, you'd be hard pressed to find bigger super-gigs than the opening three nights of Oasis's UK tour in front of a combined 210,000 mad-for-it fans. But this open-air gig by the lake in Manchester's Heaton Park was less Champagne Supernova and more Smoke on the Water as the set embarrassingly stalled after one and a half songs, thanks to an exploding generator.
Kasabian had done a great job stirring the troops in the evening sunshine playing songs from new album West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum. But the audience grew restless when Oasis's opening track, Rock'n'Roll Star, fizzled out into eerie silence as the power failed. Five minutes later they returned but had barely plucked a chord of Lyla when acrid, black smoke bellowed out from behind the stage.
There were boos from the boozy audience, and after half an hour a red-faced Liam and Noel returned with a full-refund vow. But the fault was rectified, and the band went on to perform an impressive set.
Having defined Nineties Britpop, Oasis have matured from troublemakers to an artful live act, who take themselves rather more seriously. Backstage 15 years ago, Liam would be trying to thump Noel's lights out. Now they calmly tuck into a refined meal of marinated sea bass.
While Oasis may have dropped away from the vanguard of the music scene in recent years, listening to their 24-song, cleverly spaced set, you realised the power each song has – its place in your consciousness, where you were when it was first played.
Liam rasped his way through The Shock of the Lightning, and with Cigarettes and Alcohol, Roll With It, Supersonic, Wonderwall and Live Forever, plus Noel's masterful Masterplan, there were genuine thrills in the air.
No one moved on stage, all rooted to the spot for two hours, except during Noel's solos. But for the 70,000 crowd – even without the money-back promise – the brothers were still Manchester's chosen ones.