2008 08 28 Vancouversun


Oasis "surprisingly dull"
Amy O'Brian, Vancouver Sun
Published: Thursday, August 28, 2008

To say the Gallagher brothers have matured in the past decade is entirely too easy. Considering their antics and arrogance of the mid-'90s, the mere fact that Oasis showed up seemingly sober to play a full set Wednesday night at GM Place without storming off the stage is proof of a certain level of maturity.

But these things are all relative. And, when the hot-tempered brothers are compared to other rock acts that have, at one time or another, been deemed the greatest in the world, they seem far less generous and gracious. (Off the top of my head, I'm thinking of performances I've seen in the past year that include Springsteen, Coldplay, Tom Petty, even Radiohead.)

But then that's part of their shtick. The Gallagher brothers built their rock 'n' roll reputation on acting like brats who believed they were untouchable — believed they were the greatest band since the Beatles.

And the simple truth is that they're not.

Rather than delivering a jaw-dropping rock show Wednesday night, Oasis gave the 9,000 or so devoted fans in the Garage a show that was surprisingly dull — at least for the first hour or so, which is how long it took for the band to pull out a tune from their best-loved album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?

The Manchester-raised brothers have put out six albums — with another due to land in October — but it's that 1995 album that shot them to rock stardom and it's songs from that album that most people undoubtedly wanted to hear Wednesday night.

Up until the hour-mark, though, the band played material from their as-yet-to-be-released album and lesser-known tunes from their lesser-loved albums. (They did, however, aptly kick off the show with Rock 'n' Roll Star, off their debut album.)

The result was a somewhat bored-looking audience around the edges of the stadium, sitting or standing motionless, clearly waiting to be hit by something to which they could sing along, or at least pump their fists.

It's hard to get psyched when the band doesn't look particularly happy to be there and the frontman keeps turning his back to the crowd.

But the lengthy lead-up was forgiven when the band launched into Morning Glory, which got everyone to their feet and singing along.

The cheers were deafening for Wonderwall, the band's signature song, and the chorus of thousands singing to Don't Look Back in Anger was a beautiful highlight of the evening.

The band's new material is solid. The Shock of the Lightning, the first single off the new album, is aggressive and hard-edged, but catchy enough to give the band potential for another hit. And a listening session earlier this week with a label representative revealed a tight album with lots of hook-laden tunes that has a fair shot at being well received by a new generation of Oasis fans.

Wednesday's show was far from a sold-out affair, but those who were there were obvious Oasis devotees. Many of them were likely among the disgruntled fans at the Pacific Coliseum back in 1996, when the band walked off the stage after four songs because people were throwing coins at them.

But clearly, the arrogant, bad-boy act has great appeal for some people.

Liam Gallagher doesn't smile. He doesn't move when he sings, except to lean in toward the microphone and put a hand behind his back. And he doesn't seem to want to engage with the crowd through banter or any other means.

But the crowd looked as though they were loving it.

(Older brother Noel was slightly less cold, offering a bit more chatter and warmth during the songs when he took the microphone and Liam left the stage.)

There's no question the Gallagher brothers are older and, presumably, wiser. But they still just want to be rock 'n' roll stars.

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