A lot of questions are asked every time a new Oasis record comes out. Have they still got it? Is Noel telling the truth when he inevitably says that this is their “best album since ‘Definitely Maybe’”? Are Oasis still relevant? Does anyone care?

Out of the three post-‘What’s The Story’ LPs, there’s probably about one album’s worth of material which could be considered Oasis quality. So this years ‘Don’t Believe The Truth’ (alas, the title’s never get any better) arrived without the usual hype and surprised many, due to it being actually pretty good. Who cares? Loads of people, it would turn out. A number one single, number one album and a UK tour that sold out in less than an hour. Again.

Now I’m going to get this out of the way now. I LOVE Oasis. 'Definitely Maybe' and ('What’s The Story) Morning Glory ?' were the soundtrack to my two summers of love back in the mid 90’s. I’ve been to see them countless times, but even my enthusiasm had waned after the ‘Heathen Chemistry’ tour of 2002. The songs were still the same but the new line up seemed to lack the passion of the original Oasis. That said, I still found myself right up the front of the stage when they visited Newcastle for three sell out nights at the Arena. No mean feat for a band on their way out.

The band enters stage right to the loudest roar I’ve heard in my 25 years – and I’ve sat behind the goal at a Celtic Rangers game. Liam still looks like the coolest, hardest mother you’ve ever set eyes on – his charisma hasn’t waned with age and oozes out of him like bad song titles ooze out of his brother. Said brother looks a wee bit less full of himself than the Noel of old – a sure sign that he’s getting too old for the powder. Guitarist Gem Archer loves every second of playing this gig, it being a homecoming of sorts, and Andy Bell on bass reminds us just how rubbish Guigsy really was. Fill-in drummer Zack Starkey gets almost as many chants as the brothers Gallagher, and is the best drummer Oasis have had. They need to get him on board for good.

The set mixes new and old, with the set opening - like the new album - with ‘Turn Up The Sun’ and ‘Lyla’, the latter sounding like an established classic already. We’re treated to lesser heard songs like ‘Some Might Say’ and ‘Columbia’. Only two songs from the albums between ‘What’s The Story…’ and ‘Don’t Believe’ is played; the Liam-penned ‘Songbird’ (Noel and Liam downing instruments during this one to treat us to a bizarre arm-in-arm maypole dance!) and Noel’s busker anthem ‘Little By Little’, Noel generously leaving the chorus of this one to the Geordie massive. Liam isn’t saying much tonight – to be honest he doesn’t have to. The band sounds absolutely immense. They’ve never, in my mind, sounded tighter, better and fresher. In a music scene dominated by arty, studenty, ‘clever’ music, a good dose of bollocks out rock n’ roll is what we all need. And who does that better than these lot?

All the new songs fit in perfectly, with the possible exception of ‘Mucky Fingers’, which Noel doesn’t quite pull off. ‘Live Forever’ is still the best song in the world, ‘Morning Glory’ constantly asks why it was never a number one single, and ‘Champagne Supernova’ has almost everyone arm-in-arm. And that’s besides the heat. There’s not a bloke in the place with his shirt on, and only a few ladies still in theirs. Breathing is difficult but ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ unites everyone so we all forget. Liam’s sole legible remark is “Newcastle – Fucking Rock N Roll Stars!” as they launch into set closer ‘Rock N Roll Star’ and bring the roof down off this huge arena.

A twenty minute encore includes a tear jerking ‘Wonderwall’ and finishes with a storm through the now-standard ‘My Generation’ and they leave us to go back to our normal, boring lives. But every single person in that room was part of the band tonight, every single one a Rock N Roll Star, and that’s why Oasis will always be the Best Band in the World to me.

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Commenting On: Metro FM Arena, Newcastle, 13/7/2005 - Oasis

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