OASIS with the ARTIC MONKEYS at the Air Canada Centre, March 20. Tickets: $49.50-$89.50. Attendance: sold out. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Easily selling out Toronto twice in a year shows there's still considerable love for Liam and Noel . Not many survivors of the original Britpop wave are even together these days, let alone filling arenas. But somewhere along the line Oasis became iconic rockers - impressive considering the band is barely over a decade old.
When ageless instro Fucking In The Bushes began shaking the ACC , the lights went down, Gallagher and Co. emerged onto a dark stage and the crowd went nuts. Lit only by a few Christmas lights draped over their amps, Liam swaggered up to the mic to snarl the words to Turn Up The Sun, the opening cut from 2005's Don't Believe The Truth.
Liam's stage presence is based on his nothing-is-more philosophy; it's amazing the way he commands attention by doing so little: the occasional tambourine rattle, maybe an inaudible "Cheers," or a stoic stare contest with 18,000, hands in pockets. He's transfixingly unpredictable and puzzling, and happens to possess one of rock's best voices.
Noel, the statesman and scholar, scowled from behind the neck of a custom Les Paul, carrying his band with the confidence of a wise older brother. The opening guitar bends on What's The Story (Morning Glory) rang out with pleasingly controlled pitch, as did the hooks in Live Forever and Supersonic's opening notes.
The entire show was a workshop on arena sound. Noel made room for second guitarist Gem Archer , and lanky bassist Andy Bell rolled like thunder with Beatles offspring Zak Starkey on drums, who more than competently anchored the Oasis hit canon.
Skip-buttoning between favourites from their first two albums and selected tracks from the latest, Oasis almost entirely ignored the unmentionable middle records. A sea of swaying hands greeted the enormo-choruses of Don't Look Back In Anger and Champagne Supernova, two songs that made Oasis fans for life, including many of the beer-hoisting faithful who lost their shit during the band's house-lights-on cover of My Generation that ended the encore.
As for the Arctic Monkeys , everyone just take a deep breath and chill. Yes, the lads have loads of energy and talent, but give them time before heaping on the accolades and expectations. Dwarfed by the huge stage, these kids looked terrified as they tore through a half-hour set of catchy tunes from their hyped debut. Singer Alex Turner , with the band behind him sometimes sloppy, sometimes tight, twisted around maniacally while his Sheffield mates stood nailed to the floor.
AM will probably fill ACC-type complexes 10 years from now, and, judging by this concert, so will Oasis.