They've been written off on a countless number of occasions, but a look at the Oasis diary over the last month or so would suggest that Manchester's favourite siblings are still more than relevant. A tour of UK stadiums finally comes to an end tonight, the third time in four evenings that the band has graced this iconic venue.
First on the bill are Sheffield act Reverend & The Makers, who make a decent stab at warming up the crowd with the ever-enthusiastic Jon McClure rarely failing to encourage some energy. 'Silence Is Talking' is a solid start mainly due to a sample made popular by an advert, while 'Heavyweight Champion Of The World' is a reminder as to why the music press lavished praise on them when they first broke through. Their lack of hits since though means that this momentum is soon lost - not a problem that Coventry trio The Enemy face. Having missed the previous night due to illness, they attack their set with gusto and draw most of the material from their debut, which is perhaps an indication that latest album 'Music For The People' hasn't been met with quite the same enthusiasm. Regardless, 'Away From Here' sends the audience truly bonkers for the first time during the day, 'No Time For Tears' was designed for this sort of setting while 'We'll Live And Die In These Towns' gets the sort of backing that leaves Clarke grinning like the cat that got the cream.
Next up on this bill of English rock are recent album chart-toppers Kasabian, for whom the venue is pretty much full and buzzing with expectancy. For an hour they captivate the audience and certainly don't look anywhere near being lost at such a big event - old hits such as 'Shoot The Runner', 'Processed Beats' and 'Empire' have the place rocking brilliantly.
New tracks such as 'Fast Fuse' are quickly becoming popular, while 'Fire' will surely be a staple of their set for the rest of their career - the sight and sound of tens of thousands mimicking the guitar line is stunning. 'Club Foot' remains as brilliant as when it was first released and has the sort of riff that will always up energy levels, while the traditional closer 'L.S.F.' is a final chance for Tom Meighan to ask those in attendance to sing with him and wave their hands around, not that they've needed much encouragement at any point. Due to tour the arenas later in the year, it can't be long before Kasabian will be looking to headline these events themselves.
And finally arrive the Britpop survivalists, the laddish band who were part of Cool Britannia but who these days write award winning blogs and design clothes. They arrive on stage, a deafening roar goes up and beer (you hope anyway) begins to rain down from all angles. A career spanning set begins with 'Rock 'N' Roll Star' and features the likes of 'Lyla', 'Roll With It' and 'My Big Mouth', and the band are clearly in good form with Liam Gallagher's voice sounding as good as it ever has. He's also up for some banter, giving shout outs to Mancunians, Scousers, the people of Darlington and in reference to the locals, shandy drinkers. It is noticeable that on playing recent album tracks such as 'To Be Where There's Life' that more people head to the bars, but at every classic - 'Wonderwall', 'The Masterplan', 'Supersonic' - you are reminded of all the reasons you love music in the first place. Noting that tonight is the last night of the tour, Noel Gallagher then uses one of his turns in the spotlight to resurrect 'Whatever', which had not featured in the band's set for quite some time. A stripped down version featuring Gem Archer on harmonica, it is a magnificent reminder of how many great songs the band have in their locker that are sometimes forgotten. The senior Gallagher also provides another highlight in the shape of the first encore track 'Don't Look Back In Anger', which is unsurprisingly hijacked to be one of the bigger karaoke sessions of the night, while the usual cover of 'I Am The Walrus' ends things in an anthemic rock'n'roll style. Fifteen years on from their breakthrough and Oasis prove they are as big a draw as ever; they headline this year's V Festival before taking some downtime. Based on the last month of gigs, when they return their audience will be waiting expectantly.
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