Oldham trio, Twisted Wheel opened for Oasis with ‘She’s A Weapon’. Their sound is an interesting combination of 80s Sex Pistols type punk, Brit pop and tinny 50s style rock guitars and they clearly have a decent following. The not even half full NIA crowd listened respectfully and Twisted Wheel’s fans enjoyed their performance. They played a nice combination of fast and slow beats that draws upon their many influences giving a good varied set, however the lyrics are quite repetitive at times. Their songs are quite short and so they seemed to be on for a long time, having played many songs in their half hour time slot. Half way through their set chants for Oasis rang out, sparking the reply ‘We’re Twisted Wheel, how about giving us a cheer’. The crowd happily obliged. It was very obvious that the crowd were only interested in seeing the headliners though, meaning that the talents of these three musicians were considerably overlooked.
In the build up to the Manchester headliners taking the stage the crowd were getting restless. There was a lot of pushing, with some merrily bouncing, chanting and throwing beer, whilst others seemed to be getting themselves into trouble where angry faces emerged. The stewards sorted this out swiftly, however I still felt for the people on the barrier as I saw the crowd swell and surge forwards and backwards. It was not surprising that people were being lifted out of the crowd before Oasis had even set foot on stage. It was boiling hot in the NIA tonight and packed full. In a football chant fashion, arms were raised and hands clapped as everyone shouted ‘Oasis’ on repeat. When they emerged, the crowd went crazy, the noise of the cheering was almost deafening.
For the first six songs, Liam Gallagher fronted the band beginning with ‘Rock n Roll Star’, a great opener that got the whole crowd singing and dancing, which indicated that the focus wasn’t purely on plugging the new album ‘Dig Out Your Soul’. The set became a mixture of new material and the more familiar favourites that lifted the roof off the NIA as the Oasis faithful sang their hearts out. Classics such as ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’, ‘Morning Glory’ ‘The Importance of Being Idle’ and ‘Supersonic’ got the crowd dancing constantly and ‘The Masterplan’, ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ got the arms swaying and the crowd singing passionately.
This intensity was broken up by newer material. The unfamiliarity of ‘I’m Outta Time’, ‘To Be Where There’s Life’, and ‘Falling Down’ brought calm and a quiet respect. The new single ‘The Shock Of The Lightning’ got a better reception than the other new songs played, but the reaction had nowhere near the same ferocity of passion and elation than when the opening riffs of ‘Morning Glory’ and ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’ rang out.
Noel’s first lead vocal contribution came in the form of ‘Waiting For The Rapture’ a new quite funky track with lots of bass. Whenever Noel took charge of the vocals, Liam departed the stage and from time to time, from where I was sitting, high in the stands I could see him sitting at the side of the stage, bobbing his head and enjoying the new songs that were being played in his absence. The crowd clearly love him, as they chanted his name when he returned to take his place at the front of the stage. Off microphone, Liam’s stance commands attention, he’s quite statuesque as he glares at the crowd. However the band come across as relatively humble, applauding the crowd after each song and clearly showing appreciation for their vast following.
After their emphatic performance of ‘Supersonic’ the band departed. They returned for their encore with another four songs that were much desired for. ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ raised the roof as the crowd almost overpowered Noel, where he left them to sing the whole of the first chorus. New song ‘Falling Down’ concluded Noel’s lead vocals and Liam returned with ‘Champagne Supernova’. By this point it didn’t really seem to matter that the microphone packed up and had to be replaced. Liam was apologetic all the same. They finished with ‘I Am The Walrus’. Liam gives his final applause to the crowd, which is enthusiastically mirrored as he departs the stage. While the rest of the band play out, crowd surfers scramble and tumble to the front as the speakers blare out the sound of distorted guitars and heavy beats.
Oasis put together a varied set that was polished and professional. The moody, aggressive attitude stereotypically associated with the Gallagher brothers was completely absent in this solid performance. There was in fact little interaction with the crowd, which lead them to get through twenty songs in total. Even though vocals were shaky at times, Oasis performed to the highest standard, proving why they have such a large following.
Review – Karen Trenbirth
Photos – Steve Gerrard