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Thursday, June 18, 2009
Oasis at Murrayfield Edinburgh
Anyone seeking online news updates on the state of the Gallagher brothers' fractious relationship during this latest blockbusting UK tour might have been directed by their search engine to a popular web-based betting company currently offering odds on just how long it would take the band to combust.
Would Liam storm off during their next show? What would his first cliche of the evening be? Would it be the long since passed-into-parody "mad fer it"? Who said Oasis had become predictable, huh?
For this group, after 18 years as a going concern and a benchmark 15 since the release of their first single Supersonic, it's long since stopped being a question of what new tricks they'll pull out of the bag and is now a simple matter of in which order they'll be produced.
And ideally, how amusing Noel will be or how much rudeness Liam can muster in the between-song gaps.
Oasis fans, in their musical tastes and partying proclivities, know what they want and they want it to excess.
The gutters full of empty bottles and beer cases surrounding Murrayfield, and the fact that the local primary school had to be closed for fear of the oncoming horde, reinforces the largely mistaken stereotype that Oasis's crowd is comprised of beer-addled barbarians. In fact, the large majority of their fans, like the band themselves, are simply romantics and nostalgics who are chasing the dream of a rock'n'roll glory era that never quite existed. The atmosphere was charged, but only the odd swaying beacon of shirt-off overindulgence let the side down. Even the infamous fraternal rivalry between the Gallaghers isn't going to bring an end to the night anymore.
After more than a decade spent playing before tens of thousands of people, Liam and Noel either know the importance of not inconveniencing an army of fans, or have just mellowed out.
It speaks volumes that the harshest exchange between the duo started with the black leather-jacketed Noel dedicating "the last song to my missus, who's from just along there", pointing eastwards, "or maybe over there", gesturing to the south (his partner is from Edinburgh). When Liam – wearing a camouflage green knee-length waterproof coat – emerged after The Masterplan to reassert his own vocal authority, he declared "well this one (Songbird] is for my missus". It felt like the pair were in competition to see who could be the most soppy.
The Gallaghers' asides are an integral part of the show by now, though, and are mostly quite amusing. "This is our fifth and final drummer, Mr Chris Sharrock", said Noel upon introducing the band. "He's from Liverpool, we found him on the Discovery Channel." Their particularly hirsute keyboard player was identified as "Mr Jesus Christ".
The band would be ill-advised to pull any surprises before such a crowd, so played a straight greatest-hits set with only the occasional recourse to their most recent album Dig Out Your Soul. The more devoted fans might have been pleased to hear My Big Mouth, a long-mothballed highlight of their critical downturn Be Here Now, receive an airing.
The infrequently-played Half The World Away also provided a curiously tender few minutes, but old favourites are the order of this tour – Live Forever, Supersonic, Roll With It, Slide Away, an uproariously received Cigarettes and Alcohol and perennial set-closer I am the Walrus.
The Importance of Being Idle and recent hit Falling Down show Noel's songwriting muse didn't desert him in 1997, but to the band's most passionate fans the period preceding that year will always be Oasis' glory days.
Fucking In The Bushes
Rock N Roll Star
Shock Of The Lightning
Roll With It
Cigarettes And Alcohol
To Be Where There’s Life
Waiting For The Rapture
My Big Mouth
The Importance Of Being Idle
Half The World Away
Don't Look Back In Anger
I Am The Walrus
via L4e / photos: flickr johnbanchory
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