Look Back in Love at Oasis

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It's the holiday season and we're in good spirits. So we let our hardworking photographer Kyle "Leafblower" Gustafson check out Saturday's Oasis show, take a few pictures of his favorite band and tell us how great it all was. With no word limit! For a review by someone who hasn't considered legally changing his last name to Gallagher, here's Dave McKenna's take.

Saturday's gig at the Patriot Center saw Oasis close out its two-week U.S. tour in support of the band's seventh studio album, "Dig Out Your Soul". Reviews of both the new album and the tour have been tepid, and arenas have been half-full. Other than the setlist, which was apparently written in stone and has not changed once during the tour, I was not sure what to expect for this, my 21st-ever Oasis show. However, I'm happy to report the rumors of Oasis' demise have been greatly exaggerated. Saturday's show was a workman-like performance from Manchester's self-proclaimed working class heroes, showcasing classic anthems as well as the Gallagher brothers' classic wit. Neither was in short supply.

"I went to the White House today," Noel told the crowd with a straight face. "It's the same size as my house in London. Virtually identical."

All right then.

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The 20-song set featured eight tunes from early albums "Definitely Maybe" and "What's the Story Morning Glory" as well six songs from "Dig Out Your Soul." Few bands have the supply of sing-along stadium anthems possessed by the Gallaghers, and hey, if you've got it, flaunt it. People come to Oasis shows to help belt out the biggest songs of the '90s, which the band provides in all shapes and sizes. "Don't Look Back In Anger" got a stripped-down makeover, with Noel on his acoustic guitar, Gem Archer providing a sparse melody on his electric and new drummer Chris Sharrock on the tambourine. It was beautiful, much more so when Noel was kind enough to let the audience sing the second chorus, which it (ed note: don't you mean "we"?) did with gusto. New drummer Sharrock (formerly of The La's and Robbie Williams) proved his chops on album cuts like "Morning Glory" and "Slide Away," which he filled with tom toms and flying drum sticks. During the intro to the former, he would slam his stick off the rim of the tom, and airborne it would go. Then he would grab another stick, twirl it around a few times and do it again. Oasis, now with 60% more drumstick twirling!

The night got off to a rousing start with the 1-2-3 punch of certified stadium rockers "Rock n Roll Star," "Lyla," and "The Shock of the Lightning," the last of which is new album's first single and the latest in a long line of impeccable classic singles from Noel. Liam confused the first two verses of this song, singing the second one first, something he apologized for when the song was done. A punchy "Cigarettes & Alcohol" quickly followed and the venue, which was a very respectable three-quarters full, was officially rocking.

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(More after the jump.)

Things shifted gears a bit from there, with the trancey "To Be Where There's Life" and the slow-burning, Noel-led "Waiting For The Rapture." With his brother off stage, Noel took the opportunity to address the crowd. "Fifteen years ago this was the murder capital of the world. What happened? Its not as exciting anymore, is it?" Well, it's not Manchester if that's what you mean. Noel then went deep into his catalogue for beloved B-side "The Masterplan," and with it the first of many crowd sing-alongs of the night. How many bands out there can get a few thousand people singing along to a B-side?

The big hits were, predictably, saved for the end of the show. But when you can close a show with "Wonderwall," "Supersonic," the aforementioned "Anger," "Champagne Supernova" and Beatles cover and long-time set closer "I Am The Walrus," well, that's worth the price of admission right there. (Ed note: Kyle was comped.) The only new tune played during this span was "Falling Down," the first track leaked from "Dig" and one of the most ambitious songs the band has ever recorded. Predictably, it sounded mega.

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The one glaring misstep of the night was "I'm Outta Time" Liam's overblown tribute to John Lennon. An epic slowie in the vein of "Don't Go Away," it seemed to crumble under its own weight and never find the right tempo. Liam did better with the acoustic "Songbird" and the new "Aint Got Nothin" which was one of the few times he showed off his trademark sneer. Truth be told, the band's live show hasn't changed much since I saw Oasis for the first time back in February 1995 at the Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill, NC. The one thing that has changed, however, is Liam. His singing is more clipped these days, and he doesn't go for the long, high notes as much. These days our kid needs a walk in the sunshine, as opposed to the sunsheeeiiiiine.

Messageboards have been abuzz over the last few months about how he's lost his voice, almost as if he is out of breath when he sings. I have no idea how many cigarettes are in his daily routine these days, but he's hardly turned into Manchester's version of Lil Weezy. He is still one of the most electrifying frontmen in rock when he wants to be, and he certainly did on this night. He was in a great mood, downright congenial even, giving out tambourines to audience members on a few occasions.

Oasis has always hung its hat on live shows, and it speaks volumes that a band that so stubbornly refuses to do any sort of performing other than standing on stage and playing songs can generate such energy and electricity in concert to this day. But then again, it's just rock-and-roll. "We have just one more left," Liam told the crowd before "Walrus," "and then you have to wait for Santa." No doubt those in attendance on Saturday are hoping the Santa brings them the rumored Oasis and Weezer tour in the Spring.

--Kyle Gustafson

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By David Malitz |  December 22, 2008; 4:58 PM ET Live Last Night , Pictures
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I was at the show (front row)...and I must say...pretty accurate review (Well done kyle!)...I am also a veteran Oasis fan ... but was pretty suprised at the turn out and good energy based on past reviews that I had seen (recent reviews)...I got some good pics myself! Any chance you got any pics of the front few rows Kyle? We were having a pretty good time ... I might add!

Brett M.

Posted by: bmorgan24 | December 22, 2008 7:02 PM

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