Monday, August 16, 2010

Singapore Indoor Stadium
23rd February 2006 

Are Oasis an ‘oldies’ band now? As the band churned out The Who’s classic “My Generation” to close their first gig in the Lion City, one wonders whether this concert has come about for Singaporeans a decade too late.

Much has changed of course for the band in a decade – their rags to riches tale endeared them to the ordinary Brit, which resulted in two albums viz. Definitely Maybe & (What’s Your Story) Morning Glory receiving massive critical & commercial acclaim in their homeland with the latter also getting worldwide recognition and sales.

Since then, the love affair with the critics has fallen flat with the poor Be Here Now and the lackluster Standing on the Shoulder of Giants & Heathen Chemistry. Sales have also followed suit somewhat.

However, with the revival of Britpop in 2005, it was only natural for Oasis to make a successful comeback with Don’t Believe the Truth, which placed the band back on the pedestal almost as the elder statesmen of the movement.

Which presumably is the ideal time for Oasis to launch into a world tour, which includes a first time visit to Singapore. I have to say that whilst the almost packed house at the Singapore Indoor Stadium were obviously thrilled to just have the Gallagher brothers and company on stage, it was one of the worst gigs I have had the displeasure to witness.

First off, the sound – which is usually not up to world-class standards at the Indoor Stadium, was a distorted, sludgy, bass-heavy, unlistenable throb throughout.

Next, the band themselves looked like they couldn’t be arsed. With only Zak Starkey showing any passion behind the drums, the guitar players (Gem Archer, Andy Bell and Noel) looked bored and Liam, well, strutted around the best he could, shouting the odd undecipherable Mancunian invective at the adoring masses but generally being in bad (hoarse) voice.

The first half of the set comprised of the lesser-known numbers (with the exception of “Lyla”), heavily concentrated on the new album. Halfway through, the band trotted out their definitive anthem “Live Forever” and proceeded to mess it up royally with Liam totally murdering the vocals. It was painful to watch… and as the set drove inexorably to a faithful rendition of the hits viz. “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star,” “Champagne Supernova” and “Don’t Turn Away In Anger,” the fans were certainly satisfied despite the many flaws and as the sonic assault continued unabated.

One thing I did take away from this concert was a greater appreciation for Noel Gallagher – he is the real creative force in the band – and the highlights for me was when he took over lead vocals for “Mucky Fingers” (extremely powerful live), “The Importance of Being Idle” and “The Masterplan” the subtlety of both sadly lost in the bludgeoning sound mix.

With the sound of Oasis singing “My Generation” ringing in my ears, I was left wondering whether in thirty year’s time, the big hot rock bands of that era will be covering “Live Forever” in similar tribute or would Oasis be confined to a curious footnote in rock history.

After last night, the latter fate seems in store for Oasis…

(From 2006)

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