Oasis, SECC, Glasgow Tue 4 Nov
Is Liam Gallagher informing us of his travel plans, or did he actually give the game away there? ‘We’re gonna be in Glasgow for New Year,’ he seems to say from the stage at one point, only slightly battling against the hubbub from well over ten thousand people in the opened-out hall. What, he and Nicole on a seasonal getaway with the kids, or the actual band themselves in a live context? Liam, as is the way with almost all of his blurted onstage proclamations, doesn’t elaborate.
He does do a lot of dedicating songs to ‘old chicks’ and ‘old geezers’, though. And Lorraine Kelly and her ‘fat arse’, which isn’t very gentlemanly. Few vocalists before Gallagher or since have managed to be quite so repellent and utterly magnetic in the same breath, and it’s his charisma which increasingly carries the band.
Of course, the songs which made Oasis so definitively of their era are Noel’s, but what gave them a sense of unbounded optimism and fearless hope for the future for a brief period between ’94 and ’96 (or until Noel went to Downing Street in ’97, to eke out their glory years optimistically) has long since been reflected back on them. The last decade has seen Oasis, just like Blair’s Labour during its life, drop the ball and stagger ever-more-shakily back to its feet too many times to convince.
Many of their plentiful hits get an airing, but ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’, ‘The Masterplan’ and ‘Champagne Supernova’, so fresh and new and epoch-making at the time, have become creaky laments to the days when Dad were still a contender, son. Likewise, the still kinda mighty ‘Supersonic’ and ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’ have stopped being about youthful rebellion and started most adequately soundtracking the lives of ‘old geezers’ who don’t know when to pack up and take the party home.
Classics in years gone by have been almost accidental. ‘Lyla’ is an effectively catchy stadium rocker, while ‘The Importance of Being Idle’ is most acceptable as proof that Noel still has a bit of songwriting range and an ability to break out from the usual ‘shine’ / ‘time’ / ‘line’ back-of-a-fag-packet poetry. While new tracks ‘The Shock of the Lightning’ and ‘Falling Down’ are deservedly the most well-received, the rest of their brand new efforts are greeted with respect and dignified near-silence; two most unOasis-like reactions.
Only one song, in the event, is still truly great, and it’s also the single Oasis song which sounds perfect in context – context, of course, being what this band lost sight of years ago. The track is ‘Slide Away’, and the repeated ‘don’t know / don’t care / all I know is you can take me there’ line at the end perfectly sums up the necessary ‘que sera sera’ mentality of a band who are so of-their-generation that they’re intent on rapidly growing old with it.