There aren’t many bands easier to dislike than Oasis. Fifteen years of braggadocio, buffoonery and brotherly brawling—not to mention a long string of undistinguished albums—have soured Noel and Liam Gallagher for all but their most loyal minions.
And yet, Saturday night at the Pearl, it was hard not to like them. Okay, maybe not them. Liam still acted like a tool, striking endless rock-star poses while staring unnervingly into the audience, and disappearing altogether when the elder Noel took turns at the mic. But musically speaking, Oasis came across like a tight, professional rock band, giving American fans a chance to see why Britain still goes ga-ga for a group that lost favor here shortly after 1995 breakout (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
Oasis wasn’t late. The brothers didn’t fight. And when they did open their mouths between songs, they did so mostly to thank the sold-out crowd or, in the case of Noel before “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” to dedicate a number to a just-married-in-Vegas friend. Largely, the six-piece’s music spoke for itself, with results more impressive than would seem possible of an arena-sized outfit without a Top 10 U.S. hit for more than a decade.
Save for the omission of “Live Forever”—the Oasis fanbase’s favorite tune, according to British music hub NME—the setlist was well-chosen and wisely proportioned, sampling from the band’s halcyon mid-’90s era (“Supersonic,” “Wonderwall,” “Champagne Supernova”), dipping just a toe into the less-successful middle period and focusing on the better-received past two albums. In particular, the double-shot of “Slide Away” and “Morning Glory” crackled with a magical energy younger bands, such as the in-attendance Killers, should strive to match.
The Gallaghers even put their egos aside in choosing a capable opening act, rather than a sacrificial lamb. Though Ryan Adams and his backing Cardinals struggled to win over a restless crowd, his roots-rock and alternative-country set a high bar, only to be topped by his Luxor repartee. “There’s a huge fucking pyramid in this town, shooting laser beams out the top!” he observed. “All I can say is … Hell fucking yes! Put a unicorn in there, and we are dating.”