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Thursday, June 11, 2009
Reviews : Oasis at Stadium of Light , Sunderaland
Oasis played their only gig in Sunderland, and they didn't fail to deliver to the packed stadium.
The Gallagher brothers were joined by Reverend And The Makers, The Enemy and Kasabian to entertain the audience at the Stadium of Light. All three supports are huge acts, The Enemy had just completed a UK tour at the end of last year and Kasabian will be touring with their new album later this month.
Reverend And The Makers played their well known hits Open Your Window and Heavyweight Champion of the World amongst other album tracks to the half-filled football ground.
By the time The Enemy and Kasabian played, the pitch and side stands were crowded with excited fans. Both bands delivered high energy performances.
The Enemy, infamous for their loud and rowdy rock songs, opened with Had Enough and then followed with other chart hits off the album We Live And Die In These Towns mixed with tracks off their new album Music For The People. Ending with You're Not Alone, leaving the audience high on adrenaline for Kasabian and Oasis.
Kasabian were the penultimate act. The crowd went wild when the beat of Empire kicked in and the band kept the crowd jumping and singing with their other unique acts like Processed Beats, Club Foot and their new single Fire, off the album West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum.
Halfway through their performance, though, there was a problem with the mics causing a short break, which was disappointing because after the technical difficulties with the performances in Manchester I think everyone expected for this to run smoothly.
Black and white images started flashing on the screens and eventually Liam and Noel with their usual swagger walked on to the stage. The noise of the audience merged in to the opening of Rock and Roll Star sending the fans crazy when Liam started singing.
Oasis were on form performing old and new material. Playing upbeat tracks like The Shock Of The Lightning, Cigarettes And Alcohol and Supersonic which sent the crowd surging forward and in to a frenzy. Mixed with their well-loved slower songs Wonderwall, Don't Look Back In Anger and Slide Away which with the rain falling and the sound of the thousands of fans singing along gave you goosebumps.
They ended with one of their biggest hits, Champagne Supernova and then followed by a cover of The Beatles song I Am A Walrus which Oasis have finished with for years.
The concert was amazing and felt slightly like a mini festival having so many big acts playing. The three support acts put pressure on Oasis to perform well which they did making the atmosphere in the stadium electric.
Oasis made history as the first rock band to play at the Stadium of Light, and the event will Live Forever for those who were there.
Manchester's finest might be past their best as far as album sales go, but live they are still one of the most essential bands around, as they proved to more than 50,000 people.
I missed the first special guests, Sheffield's Reverend And The Makers, after having to wait half an hour to get in, but judging by the queues so did most of the crowd.
Coventry trio The Enemy were next on the bill, and their lad-rock was a perfect appetiser for Oasis's beer-swilling audience.
Frontman Tom Clarke might be a little fella, but he has a big personality, and he got the crowd going with a 10-song set including Had Enough, Away From Here, the excellent We'll Live And Die In These Towns and storming closer You're Not Alone.
Leicester's Kasabian were second on the bill, and justified it with a dozen slices of their finest groove-laden rock.
Shoot The Runner, Processed Beats, new single Fire, Empire, L.S.F. and Club Foot went down a storm, and it was a pity their set was interrupted halfway through when they left the stage.
The move seemed to be prompted by concerns for the safety of the crowd in the East Stand, with everybody coming into the stadium heading for the central entrances, causing congestion on the walkways.
Food and drink kiosks in the stand were closed in the half-hour before Oasis came on, though they opened again later, and this is another teething problem which needs to be solved before staging more events of this size.
On to the main act then, and although the Gallagher brothers' glory days are undoubtedly behind them, they still know how to put on a show.
They came on to Rock 'N' Roll Star - what else? - and the place went crackers.
For the next 90 minutes - appropriate for a football ground - they forayed back and forth through their extensive back catalogue.
Return-to-form single Lyla was followed by Shock Of The Lightning, the first one from their latest album, and the opening chords of Cigarettes And Alcohol, four songs in, drew a roar akin to the winning goal in a derby match.
Liam swaggered around the stage in his long green anorak, looking far more 'mad for it' than he did at their last North East appearance, a couple of years ago at the Arena.
But, while Liam is the frontman, Noel is the heartbeat of Oasis, and, for a spell, he was one of the finest songwriters of his generation.
The songs where he took on vocal duties were my highspots of the night: The Masterplan, The Importance Of Being Idle and Half A World Away.
He was in good humour, introducing Chris Sharrock as "our fifth and last drummer" and the bearded, long-haired keyboard player as "the son of God, Jesus Christ".
Wonderwall, Live Forever and Supersonic brought the main set to a thrilling conclusion, but Noel's finest moment was yet to come in the four-song encore.
He performed a stunning acoustic version of Don't Look Back In Anger, which not even the climactic Champagne Supernova and I Am The Walrus could top.
Oasis and back-to-back Take That shows have put Sunderland firmly on the concert map, with music fans surely having more big gigs to look forward to next close season.
Hopefully they will have the chaotic queueing system and the inadequate stewarding sorted out by then, so the Stadium can truly call itself a Premier League concert venue.
My first ever gig was one of Oasis's two concerts in Loch Lomond.
It was a warm-up for the Knebworth dates in August 1996.
Around a year later, I was at Newcastle Arena to see them again.
So, last night, I was apprehensive a poor performance might ruin those memories.
Yesterday morning I dug out the fanzine review I wrote of that first concert as a 14-year-old and it is littered with references to banter with the crowd.
Last night that was kept to a minimum but included a shout-out to people from Durham, perhaps linked to guitarist Gem Archer's roots in the city.
And while they may have lacked that same charm and rapport of those early years, I'm glad to say their Sunderland show did not sully those past experiences.
The support acts for Liam, Noel and Co included Reverend and the Makers, The Enemy and Kasabian.
And they all did a fine job of getting the audience in the mood, before one of the world's biggest bands took to the stage.
The Enemy proved a big hit with the packed stadium, playing most of the tracks from their first album as well as a couple of their latest album.
Kasabian were very well received, whipping the crowd into a frenzy until a technical hitch during Underdog forced the band off stage for about 10 minutes.
They were greeted with rapturous applause when they returned to finish their set.
The sound quality improved as the night wore on, and was perfect by the time Oasis took to the stage.
For a fleeting minute or so, as Liam arched his way towards the microphone and sung the opening lines of Wonderwall, it was like being transported back to being a teenager.
The band's newest material is perhaps now the music of another generation, but for many, including me, last night would have been a welcome reminder of good times.
And while many of their newer tracks, including Lyla, Hindu Times and Songbird, got a warm reception, it was the earlier hits which got the stadium jumping.
Kicking off with Rock'n'Roll Star, there were plenty more classics throughout, from Cigarettes and Alcohol, Slide Away, (What's the Story) Morning Glory, Live Forever to Champagne Supernova.
Some may call their approach going through the motions, others would call it professionalism and perfection after more than 18 years in the business – however, last night further confirmed there is no denying Oasis deserve their place in music's hall of fame.
However, the event itself did not go ahead without its problems.
Trouble brewed at the gates around 6pm as people tried to get into the venue, some very much worse for wear after making a day of it in the bars and pubs. And we came up against a few issues with stewards unable to direct us because they did not know the venue themselves.
The behaviour of the group of lads next to us was appalling, even for a rock gig, and we also chose to stand in the rain for almost an hour waiting for a taxi than face joining the thousands to queue for the Metro.
But as Oasis had announced "So that's the end of that, then" before playing the final track I Am The Walrus, it really did feel like the final moments of something great.
After a week of a real buzz around Take That's dates on Friday and Saturday and build-up to Oasis' appearance last night, it seems sad not to have more to follow.
But without a doubt, Wearside and the Stadium of Light have been put on the map as somewhere to take notice of – for plenty of good reasons.
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via L4e / Source: www.sunderlandecho.com
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