Live Music + Gig Reviews

Oasis @ Zenith, Paris

17 September 2002



This is the rock ‘n’ roll version of a Man United match. It must be the red t-shirts and the English accents, but when I spot the Liam look-alikes, the flying beer cans and the Union Jacks worn la Superman, I know I’m at an Oasis concert, although the rather large number of mad-for-it English fans make me wonder whether this is really Paris.

I mean, it is hard to believe they’re actually playing in the French capital. Every Oasis concert for the past few years here has been cancelled due to some Oasisy reason. But the band makes up for it tonight. Noel Gallagher even apologises for all the previously cancelled shows. But wait, is that a beard on Noel?

After the much-ignored performance of opening act The Bandits, the much-awaited Oasis kicks off with Fuckin’ In The Buses. Is that really a beard on Noel?

“Hello, it’s good to be back!” Liam is wearing a leather jacket buttoned up to his neck. For the duration of the entire show. It must be a sauna in there, but there is an image to defend here, albeit a bit dated now. Holding his hands behind him, I actually imagine him as being handcuffed until he puts them in his pocket or becomes Mr Tambourine Man.

They roll with it on The Hindu Times, Hung In A Bad Place and Columbia. Older tracks like Hello and Some Might Say make the crowd go wilder. Hmm, I wonder why.

The mass hysteria – mostly female – is localised mainly in front of Liam. And they certainly don’t go by unnoticed. A bass-saturated version of Stop Crying Your Heart Out is dedicated “to the ladies,” while Cigarettes and Alcohol is a tribute to the swooning fans.

It is decidedly the night of dedications. Acquiesce is in honour of “a Scottish fan who, if I’m correct, is at practically every Oasis show,” says Noel. He also shares the singing task with his brother, his soft vocals creating a contrast to the droning effects invented by Liam. Noel’s voice is nearly overtaken by the powerful guitars of She’s Electric. Still, it’s one of the greater moments.

The fans receive Noel’s acclamation when they take over the chorus of Don’t Look Back in Anger, dedicated to “all the French people who managed to get a ticket”. Oh yes, there are French fans in the 5,000-strong Parisian audience and they let it all out.

The show ends with a very physical and brilliant cover of The Who‘s My Generation, their latest tribute to Britrock. Roger Daltrey, watch out. Well, almost. But Liam isn’t Liam without some sort of Liamery: “I’m tired of your French faces. This is the last song.” Rock ‘n’ roll man, rock ‘n’ roll.

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