The last time I saw Oasis was at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1998. The opening band was Cornershop, and I was too young to take the bus to Toronto by myself, so I was escorted by my brother (it was my Christmas present). Seven years, four albums and several band members later, I’m old enough to go to big concerts by myself, and Oasis hasn’t lost any of the energy they possessed at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1998. The brothers from Manchester didn’t threaten to fight with one another on stage like last time, and they were drinking bottled water instead of beer (perhaps the reason for the lack of fisticuffs), but it was the same old Oasis.
The band walked onto the stage to the instrumental “Fuckin’ in the Bushes”, which would end up being the one and only song that night from the band’s 2000 release Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (which is one more than the number of songs played from the sadly forgotten 1997 release, Be Here Now). To please the Jet fans, they then played the opening track to their latest release Don’t Believe The Truth, “Turn Up the Sun”, followed by the album’s first single “Lyla”.
Oasis didn’t waste any time; they thanked the Vancouver crowd for waiting so patiently for them to return, and got right into some of their older songs. They played “Bring It On Down”, “What’s the Story Morning Glory” and “Cigarettes and Alcohol” before returning to the new album.
Perhaps the most entertaining aspect of the evening was, of course, Liam Gallagher: the man with several trademarks. He didn’t hold back on any of his defining qualities: the sexy swagger, the sneering vocals, and the unexplainable poses (at one point he held the crescent-shaped tambourine in his mouth, creating a smile not unlike the demon of avarice). He sang “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” like he truly believed it, and rambled on between songs about things that nobody quite understood.
The band didn’t leave the stage until they had played nearly everything everyone wanted to hear. They dedicated the beautiful “Live Forever” to the people of New Orleans, and they brought back “Wonderwall” (the only true version of the song) after its long absence from Oasis set lists. For the encore—to the dismay of those who expected a Noel Gallagher acoustic solo set—the whole band returned to finish off the night with two new songs, followed by a powerful “Don’t Look Back In Anger” during which Noel stepped away from the microphone and let the crowd fill in the vocals. The final flare was delivered with the best cover of Oasis’ career: “My Generation” by The Who. Those who hadn’t heard the cover before, or who wouldn’t have expected Liam to pull it off were inevitably stunned by the result. The lights and the fans went crazy; “Let It Be” began playing over the loud speaker, and it was all over as if it hadn’t even begun.