KOKO Asia Exclusive

KOKO Asia Approved is for those from the region or are touring the region. We watch a local band and we love it then we will review it. We watch an international band touring the region and we love it you guessed it we will review it.

Oasis Live In Hong Kong

Date: 20 July 2009
By Matt Smith of The Standards

If you think Oasis are 'shit', or 'past it' or 'irrelevant' then quite honestly you are wrong. For thousands and thousands, if not millions of people, they are the absolute cornerstone of rock and roll and at the top of their game in the contemporary music category. One could even go as far to call them an institution. Following the release of their first album, Definitely Maybe, in 1994 the boys from Manchester changed the face of music to a complete generation and have been at the forefront of the musical world. They're albums (now at seven) are ageless, have been the inspiration behind countless new musicians and if they keep making them like their latest, 'Dig Out You Soul', then it is going to be a hell of a long time before anyone ever overtakes them. So, this gig in Hong Kong, part of their arena world tour was not only to promote 'Dig Out You Soul' but to remind all the chancers and wannabes exactly how it should be done.

In fact, they should have been playing 3 gigs in the east; Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong but the People's Democratic of China decided it wasn't such a good idea to let them in the country. Apparently someone, somewhere suddenly remembered they had seen Noel Gallagher at a 'Free Tibet' gig back in 1997 well after tickets had gone on sale for the two China shows. They were then promptly cancelled. Shame really, you got to feel for the fans who rushed out to buy tickets while pissing themselves with excitement. They're the ones who were truly let down.

Last time I saw Oasis live was back in 1999 when they headlined at the Reading Festival. I remember feeling a surge of excitement coming from the crowd. We were all about to see the most talked about band since The Beatles, possibly the best band in the world and by this time they were only on album number four. It was as if we were bracing ourselves for the wall of noise that we'd heard so much about. Now, ten years later in a stadium on the other side of the world, the atmosphere was the same. Dig Out Your Soul has been hailed as the best thing Oasis have done since What's The Story Morning Glory, we'd all listened to it and felt it in our own homes but hearing it live would be something else entirely. Then, just like that, the lights go down and ‘Fucking In The Bushes’ pumps out of the huge P.A and first on to the stage is the man himself, Mr. Liam Gallagher closely followed by the rest of the band. "20 years ago today" Liam shouted into the microphone before they bashed into 'Tonight I'm A Rock And Roll Star'. What a belter! What a way to start a gig! To be hit this hard with this song, this far from home by a band from my home country was a humble feeling. Here they were, representing British music at its very best and doing a fine job of it. The set was relentless and the crowd, blasted with hit after hit, bellowed out every word. 'Lyla', 'Supersonic', 'Wonderwall', 'Morning Glory', 'Slide Away', 'Cigarettes And Alcohol', 'The Importance Of Being Idle', 'Songbird' were all in there, sounding as banging and fresh as the day they were written. 'Champagne Supernova' got a dedication and it made sense of Liam's opening statement, going back to the gig that inspired them to become who they are. "Who’s heard of The Stone Roses? Nearly 20 years ago to this day we went to see band called The Stone Roses, this one's for them".

To think that Oasis have been playing some of these tunes for nearly fifteen years seemed impossible due to the energy that came off them and the way the crowd sang along. It goes without saying though that 'The Masterplan' was a massive highlight.

Noel's voice was sounding as clear as a bell and Jay Darlington's keyboard helped raise the hairs on the back of the neck whilst summoning up cold and rainy images of the English north. Along the same special lines were all the new tunes from Dig Out Your Soul. These sounded immense and you could tell the band enjoyed playing them, taking everything up a notch. 'Falling Down' was a moment, 'Shock Of The Lightning' sounded huge but it was 'Waiting For The Rapture' that just took things to another level. Noel's vocals once again soaring above those beautiful chord changes along with Andy Bell and Gem Archer in whole hearted concentration.

The lads were on fine form from start to finish. They don't move about much, but that’s always been the way with Oasis although Liam, dressed in Beanie hat and Tail Fish Parka, was his usual arrogant, posing self, loving every moment of being centre of attention. On and off stage he went like someone who can’t keep still, leaving Noel to sing his parts. There was even a moment when he swapped tambourines with a member of the crowd, coming back up on stage looking pleased with himself, holding onto a couple of cheap looking wooden ones. Speaking was kept to a minimum; "They told me to keep me mouth shut" he spat at one point, "but thank you for coming HERE to see US" One can only assume this was in reference to the other cancelled China shows, and it’s a good job he did if it was.

It has to be said though (and I don't want to take anything away from the rest of the band here) that the star of the show was drummer Chris Sharrok. This is one man who knows how to drum. The immense power he can emanate and the look of sheer energy and enthusiasm on his face throughout the gig was a marvel in itself. Never was a beat missed, sticks were twirled into the air and caught, he kept the band tight and every stamp on the bass drum could be felt in your chest. He belongs in Oasis and I hope he's there to stay.

A great gig, an untouchably anthemic set of songs, five awesome musicians, a baying audience, a banging set and a musical reputation that will never be forgotten. Despite all the past rumors of finishing and splitting for good, here is a band that seems to know exactly who they are and what they’re doing; hitting everything right on the money and making it all look so simple. It's plain to see why they're the biggest band in the world and there are certainly no maybes about it.


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