Richard Ashcroft, The Electric Soft Parade, and The Soundtrack of Our LivesEdit this event
There was never much hope of the first 2 support acts being accepted by the Manchester crowd, especially since a large part of said crowd was stuck in a time warp and thought it was still relevant to insult Blur. Soundtrack Of Our Lives had a slight advantage, being first and so getting some ‘oh, look, entertainment’ interest, which they promptly threw away by going through song after song of samey rock’n’roll. Even the hilariously brilliant dress sense of the guitarist and stage manner of the (scary) front man couldn’t hold much attention. Until their final song, that is, which I have no idea the title of, me being totally new to this band, but it was a gloriously melodic number, with some 12 string guitar work that The Byrds themselves would be proud of. Shame it was only one song that they managed to shine on.
The Electric Soft Parade have become hugely more confident on the stage then they once where, debuting several new songs (including one with the introduction ‘This one’s called ‘‘Stay Here.’’ Please do.’) that pretty much pick up from ’Holes In The Wall’ and adding some nice flairs to the older songs, like the bonus drumwork and added riffs on ’Empty At The End’. Their live ‘Silent To The Dark’ didn’t work too well though, the huge bits of chords inserted weren’t so much building the atmosphere as boring the crowd – TESP were nice enough, but not really the testosterone-laden audiences’ cup of tea.
Richard Ashcroft fared better, mainly due to the fact that he played the old Verve hits. You’ve gotta feel for this man, he plays all his lovely new songs but the only ones that the crowd are really interested in are the ones he played with a bunch of people he now hates. ’Song For The Lovers’ went down well too, it works beautifully on his acoustic guitar, and Ashcroft is a class performer, filling more of the stage then both groups before him.
…And then the karaoke began. Oasis’s microphones where turned down so low and the crowd were singing (actually ‘yelling’ would be a better word. Or maybe ‘wailing’ for the slower tracks) along so loudly that for the initial part of the gig the band were reduced to a backing band for 50,000 drunk Mancs. Noel wasn’t too happy and by heck he showed it, scowling through most of the gig and calling over a roadie to sort it out. So it was left to Liam to entertain the crowds, which, considering no one could hear his singing so there wasn’t much point even attempting the more difficult notes, he did brilliantly. Doesn’t matter if people have done it before him, fact is that Liam Gallagher has made his own art out of swaggering around the stage as though he owns the world.
Opening with ’Hello’ and ending with a roaring cover of ’My Generation’, Oasis played the usually hits setlist that you’d expect from a well known band plugging a recent album – the hits, coupla new tracks, reward the die hard fans with an old album track, yadda yadda yadda. ’Columbia’ was the undoubted highlight, followed by ’The Hindu Times’ – both songs managed to set the stadium on fire with a passion many thought Oasis had lost. However, the over-length of some songs (particularly the ones off the last 2 albums, and very specifically ’Better Man’) meant that the night did tend to drag somewhat as you waited for all the middle section song filler to be played out so they could get on with the next track.
Only one song from ’Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants’ (‘Go Let It Out’) and ’Be Here Now’ has apparently been written out of the history books – Oasis are a better band for it.
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