The fourth of five intimate UK club shows to road test Oasis‘ new album was an interesting one to say the least. There was lairyness in the streets. A fight or two threatened to kick off in several of the pubs on the New Kent Road. The traffic was heavily congested with angry bus drivers honking and tempers flaring. No I’m not in Istanbul, I reassured myself.
The Coronet venue looked as shabby as its south London surroundings. Inside though, it looked much more like 2 million had been invested to turn a dumpy old cinema into a slick, carefully designed new venue. Liverpool were 3-0 down. I chuckled and headed for the bar. As a support act, of sorts, they weren’t giving a thousand or so Anfield converts much to enjoy. Just beneath the big screen fairy lights snaked around Oasis’ kit. No sooner had we returned from the bar and a fairytale was on the cards, with the scores now tied at 3-3. Oasis had been billed to come on shortly after full time. By extra time, it felt like being in the Liverpool end of the Ataturk Stadium.
The balcony continued drumming their feet creating the almighty judder through the venue just as the deciding penalty kick, taken by Andrei Shevchenko, was saved by Jerzy Dudek. It sent the place bananas. Pints flew all over the standing area. Mass hugs were abound as decibel levels exploded as the PA injected an extra 30,000 voices into the venue.
The house lights dimmed before remerging in a deep red silhouette as Jerry And The Pacemakers’ You’ll Never Walk Alone cupped the venue into a loud, proud sing along. Noel Gallagher popped onstage, grinning and applauding. The rest of the band followed and stood there for the moment. You will never witness a support act quite like this. Full marks to Liverpool.
Oasis began almost as terribly as Liverpool had with Turn Up the Sun barely a clunky drone under the PA was quickly remedied as Lyla and Bring it On Down followed. For the first time, in a long time, Oasis really looked up for it. Liam growled, snarled and fist-pumped like the early days, as opposed to the sober straddler many saw (and pilloried) at Glastonbury.
Noel was having fun too as he duped us into the chord of Cigarettes And Alcohol, before ploughing into Morning Glory. Smiling at the Italian pair in front of him, he couldn’t resist dedicating Stop Crying Your Heart Out to them.
The PA had soon been tweaked to remarkable perfection, with Liam virtually the same as on record, along with the added gravitas of his live presence. Of the new material, the Kinksy Importance of Being Idle and punky Meaning Of Soul went down best. The classics obviously dominated and it was naturally left to My Generation (which is wearing now boys) to end proceedings.
This current incarnation of Oasis certainly seem to have found some harmony, even if Zak “Ringo” Starkey is yet to be made a permanent member. There was much smiling and larking about onstage.
Indeed, just as they have regained their mojo on record, Oasis have rediscovered the excitement of performing live, which they are to take to the half a million people lined up to see them in the next few months. As the support act can confirm, it’s better late than never.