Although famous as much for their Mancunian bluster as for redefining British pop back in the mid-1990s, even the Gallagher brothers themselves must be more than mildly surprised at how well Oasis’s following in America has endured and grown in the decade since they became global superstars.
After its first two albums were released in 1994 and 1995 respectively, the band’s stateside popularity faded considerably. Given the fact that Oasis’s massive early success hinged on a combustible cocktail of drug abuse and, at times, violent sibling rivalry, the downturn didn’t seem all that unlikely.
Yet somehow, despite the aborted tours, lineup changes and declining record sales, the Gallaghers have held themselves together long enough for their career to experience an American resurgence. This is even more surprising considering that the band’s new album, “Dig Out Your Soul” — while somewhat more palatable than its clunky predecessor — isn’t anywhere near as compelling as its early material.
Regardless, the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles was full of fans, new and old, anxious to get a glimpse Oasis Mach IV. Things looked pretty familiar. Apart from some extra heft courtesy of new drummer Chris Sharrock, it was business as usual for Oasis, who roared through a familiar 105-minute set heavy on the hits (“Wonderwall,” “Champagne Supernova,” “Supersonic”) and light on everything else.
Standard rock psychedelic imagery filled the video screens behind the band as they stuffed the arena with thick open chords and Kinks-esque harmonies.
If there was any doubt before, Liam Gallagher has pretty much officially given up on actually singing, now content to snort his vocals without any need to even finish his phrases. The band’s new material is melodic but not memorable (“Ain’t Got Nothin’,” “Waiting for the Rapture”), and actually makes mediocre mid-period songs like “Lyla”, “Songbird” and “The Importance of Being Idle” seem like welcomed additions to the set.
Acoustic renditions of “The Masterplan” and “Don’t Look Back in Anger” were well received, the latter offering perhaps the one moment where Noel Gallagher seemed genuinely touched by the overwhelming audience response.
Such a rabid reaction proves that Oasis have indeed weathered a crucial career-threatening storm. And they have done it not by changing with the times but remaining steadfastly true to their meat-and-potato rock roots. And while this approach might not afford them any creative breakthroughs in the near future, it has at least provided a future of some kind.
Ryan Adams and the Cardinals opened the show with an hour of often stunning rock songs culled mostly from their new album, “Cardinology.” Crisp guitars tones and glacial pedal steel licks punctuated the emotionally searing standouts “Cobwebs” and “Crossed Out Name.”
Guitarist Neil Casal seems like he was genetically designed to be Adams’ ideal vocal and instrumental foil, as the pair locked into gorgeous pools of harmony on song after song. “Sink Ships,” “Natural Ghost” and “Go Easy” sounded even fuller than their album counterparts, and worked well alongside the chiming contemplativeness of “Two” and “Everybody Knows” from last year’s underrated “Easy Tiger.”
Here is Oasis’ set list:
“The Shock of the Lightning”
“Cigarettes and Alcohol”
“The Meaning of Soul”
“To Be Where There’s Life”
“Waiting for the Rapture”
“What’s the Story, Morning Glory?”
“Ain’t Got Nothin'”
“The Importance of Being Idle”
“I’m Outta Time”
“Don’t Look Back in Anger”
“I Am the Walrus”
Here are Ryan Adams & the Cardinals’ set list:
“Crossed Out Name”
“When the Stars Go Blue”
“Let It Ride”
“Come Pick Me Up”
“My Heart Is Broken”