The Charlatans, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and The CoralEdit this event
I'm standing in a field, attempting to endure the godforsaken dirge Proud Mary are inflicting upon me. A man in his early 30's approaches me, and pours a bottle of what I presume is his own urine over my head, whilst shouting "YOU FUCKING STUDENT WANKER!!!" in my ear, and laughing with his mates. Great. Now I have to spend the rest of the evening with piss in my hair. I move away from the louts, and try to get a bit nearer the stage. I am swamped by someone's lager. Things are going from bad to worse.
Indeed, it's these horrible, loutish, narrow minded, one gig a year twats that spoil most people's evening. The quality of the bands on show are almost enough to make up for my soakings. The Coral are fantastic, although nobody else seems to care, and BRMC are also decent enough, if somewhat overawed by the size of the occasion.
As ever, we can rely on The Charlatans to put on a good show. A hits-heavy set is perfect for the inattentive audience, even if Burgess is still unsure of his falsetto on the "Wonderland" tracks. Even Burgess' anger at the audience, (He calls them 'boring' when he realises half the crowd aren't paying the slightest bit of attention) helps the performance, as toward the end of the set, the band are clearly past caring, and indulge themselves in fantastic versions of "How High" and "Weirdo".
So now we come to main attraction, those contradictory rockers, Oasis. Having delivered their best album in years (not that that was a particularly hard task), they arrive on stage with as much confidence as you would expect, and launch into a tepid version of "Hello". Liam's vocal's sound terrible, and the band look lazy and uninterested. Frankly, I'm regretting coming.
But things soon perk up, notably with the introduction of recent single "The Hindu Times", and the storming Gem Archer penned track "Hung In A Bad Place". But it's still on the older tracks that Oasis really excel. "Columbia" is almost perfect, the vitriol in Liam's voice returns, and the band begin to play with soul and passion. "Stop Crying Your Heart Out", nothing more than a "Slide Away" rip-off on record, is suddenly transformed into a nation-unifying anthem, as the entire crowd (even myself) sing their hearts out to it. A sense of community is suddenly apparent, and the ugly violence of earlier on has disappeared.
After a stirring "Acquiesce" the inevitable encore is anti-climatic. "Force Of Nature" is as plodding and dull as the recorded version, Don't Look Back In Anger" sounds tired and re-hashed, only "Some Might Say", always one of Oasis' best songs, is performed with any zest.
They close with a John Entwhistle dedicated "My Generation". It reveals much about Oasis 2002. A song celebrating the arrogance of youth, Liam Gallagher looks decidedly old singing it, and his band mates resemble a reunion tour group at your local sports centre.
The stark fact is, Oasis aren't the wonderfully exciting rock 'n' roll group they used to be. Still, capable of the old magic sure, but on the whole a shadow of their former selves.
I'm off to wash my hair...
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