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Mark singasonginaShakeyvoice Goodwin's review.
(more reviews coming)
The show details.
A stiflingly hot Sunday in Paris and time to go to Bercy, the big multi-purpose multi-sports hall on the east side of town. The climate inside the hall was refreshingly cool, suitably enough for Oasis, who kick off at seven sharp with a deafening wall of sound. (The morning after I and the rest of my team can hear next to nothing. Your average support band doesn't usually come with a health warning but Oasis need one.)
The guy in front of me recording their set will have captured the digital equivalent of a multi-vehicle pile-up. Their set was good, but singer Liam now looks chubby and older, and the sulky posturing that once substituted for stagecraft looks out of place. Noel Gallagher would be better off leading a four-piece and singing himself.
Half-time. As the beer lines grew, neighbours shouted excitedly to each other like the world was wearing walkmans. And (how do they manage this?) on the stroke of nine the lights dimmed leaving the stage candles to greet Neil and Horse. A quasi-religious experience was about to begin...
Best opener I could have hoped for, Don't Cry No Tears was pinch-me time. The sound was terrific, the crowd's collective thrill was palpable. Then from the hokey good-time rhythm we wandered into the power-chord intro to I've Been Waiting For You, one of the anthems of my adolescence.
The band looked to be settling in and enjoying themselves, more evident still during Love And Only Love, which was breathtaking. The Neil veterans and neophytes alike were smiling inanely with the pleasure of it all. I'm still amazed how what always seems like a great pop song can last a quarter of an hour without there being one superfluous note played. I'd briefed my neighbours to go on a beer run during Piece Of Crap, but they loved it and stayed put.
Going Home and When I Hold You In My Arms have evolved apace from the start of the tour and the Horse sound like they really enjoy playing them.
Solo set time. The reminder of how thousands can catch their breath to listen to Neil alone at the microphone. The reminder, too, of what a great harp player he is. From Hank To Hendrix made everyone squirm inwardly with pleasure. Don't Let It Bring You Down was played with a weird tuning that sounded great and preserved the song's bleak quality. Pocahontas was sublime, the best song of the night, sung with passion that made the hairs on parts of your body stand on end. Then After The Goldrush on pump and mouth organs.
Just when you've been taken back in time and mentally primed for the next After The Goldrush track, the band wanders back to deliver Only Love Can Break Your Heart. It sounded timeless.
The riffy Standing In The Light Of Love sounded far more together last night than at the beginning of the tour, but it leaves you feeling like it's a bunch of clichéd licks performed competently, rather than a song with a heart. Gateway Of Love, on the other hand, has heart and soul -- a kind of From Hank Marvin to Hendrix. I think Andrew mentioned Eldorado in the same breath with that one a week or so ago, and it's true: Gateway has the same feel.
This crowd danced to one or two Oasis hits earlier, so Neil went with a standard power choice of finishers: a Hey, Hey, My, My that got everyone up and suddenly increased the temperature in the hall by several degrees; a Sedan Delivery that thrashed with the best and lasted ages -- I think we got a couple of verses twice over -- and the audience were lapping it up, letting solos roll over them, wallowing in the joyfulness of the whole thing.
And then the most remarkable Like A Hurricane I've ever heard. I can't imagine it's been played like this ever before. The long, incredibly powerful intro was more like foreplay than music, the band's exhilaration playing the song transported everyone I was with, the long feedback wind-down was necessary after such a song to prevent serious damage to muscles and psyches.
And that was it. Neil was, oddly, jubilant and waving to the crowd, to everyone in turn. The Horse seemed cranked up and loving every minute, hugs and kisses all round at the end. They wandered back to an extended Fuckin' Up that was as intense as you get. Only one encore? Yes, but no one in the crowd had the feeling of being short-changed. On the contrary....