Friday, December 05, 2008

Live Review: Oasis / Ryan Adams and the Cardinals

Oasis with Ryan Adams & the Cardinals
and Matt Costa
Oracle Arena, Oakland CA

Show # 2 on a month- long rock 'n roll live show extravaganza saw us head north to Oakland's Oracle Arena to catch up with the Gallagher bros in Oasis and watch a rocking opening set by Ryan Adams and the Cardinals.

This is going to show my age, but remember when big arena shows were these crazed, just-one-step-away from sheer anarchy affairs? Beer and drugs flew through the air like a WWII firefight and bodies tumbled over the barricades like the incoming tide of a hurricane, and the last thing you wanted to be caught doing was actually sitting in your assigned seats?

Yeah, those days are gone.

The sight of people carrying buckets of popcorn and a tall soda as they searched for their floor seats and tried to text their new bff on Facebook are the norm these days and the gestapo security of Oracle arena ensured a safe PG-13 time in what should have been an R-rated environment.

But enough about that, lets talk about some fucking music.

Normally a band that plays theaters and large clubs, Ryan Adams & the Cardinals adjusted their song selection to provide an uptempo and rocking opening set to fill the cavernous arena. The tom-heavy percussion of opening song "Cobwebs" off this year's Cardinology created an urgency as the band - Neal Casal, Brad Pemberton, Jon Graboff, Chris Feinstein and Ryan Adams launched into a set that sampled their extensive catalog.

Highlights included a driving rendition of "Let it Ride" off 2005s Cold Roses, "Come Pick Me Up" from 2000s Heartbreaker, and "Sink Ships" off Cardinology. After slowing down briefly with "Two" off last year's Easy Tiger album, the band let out one last blast of rock with "Magick" and then exited the stage.

All in all, you couldn't have asked for a better set by an opening band. I look forward to the band returning to the Bay Area for their own headlining show in 2009.

Ryan Adams and the Cardinals Setlist:
Crossed Out Name
Everybody Knows
When the Stars Go Blue
Fix It
Let it Ride
Go Easy
Sink Ships
Come Pick Me Up
I Taught Myself How to Grow Old

Promptly at 9PM, the house lights dimmed and the familiar cacaphony of "Fuckin' in the Bushes" exploded from the arena PA as the huge video screens and stage lights went crazy and synched with the song's backbeat, prepping the crowd for the band's entrance. Vocalist Liam Gallagher strutted non-chalantly to the front of the stage and greeted the crowd with his patented Mancunian attitude as the rest of the band took their positions with their instruments.

Everywhere else in the world, Oasis are huge, drawing fans by the tens of thousands to their sold out gigs. Stateside, they draw a lot less, but the 6,000 strong fans cheered loudly as the band revved up with opener "Rock 'n Roll Star" and launched into a two hour show that pulled from their back catalog and showcased tunes off this years big-beat psychedelic album Dig Out Your Soul.

"Lyla" off 2006s Don't Believe the Truth and new song "Shock of the Lightning" lubricated the crowd nicely before sending them over the edge with the classic "Cigarettes & Alcohol". Oasis did a great job all night of balancing classics with newer, more unfamiliar material off Dig Out Your Soul. New drummer Chris Sharrock more than filled the vacancy left by Zak Starkey, pummeling his kit with reckless abandon on songs like "Meaning of Soul" and the new, Middle Eastern-tinged song "To Be Where There's Life".

Highlights included the stomping march of the new, Noel Gallagher-sung "Waiting for the Rapture", a roaring, riff heavy "Morning Glory" and the Brit Pop psychedelia of "Slide Away" which caused one fan to pass out and Noel to reply "Did someone get overwhelmed? I'm sorry about that. Buy a t-shirt on the way out, please".

The encore ended the show on a high note: a touching, acoustic rendition of "Don't Look Back in Anger", the pharmacological haze of new song "Falling Down" and the bliss of the crowd-sung "Champagne Supernova" set up the show closing "I Am the Walrus" complete with the crowd coo-coo-a chooing as Liam spat out the verses and the band paid tribute to their idols in the Beatles.

Oasis setlist:
Rock 'N Roll Star
Shock of the Lightning
Cigarettes & Alcohol
The Meaning of Soul
To Be Where There's Life
Waiting for the Rapture
The Masterplan
Slide Away
Morning Glory
Ain't Got Nothing
The Importance of Being Idle
I'm Outta Time

Don't Look Back in Anger
Falling Down
Champagne Supernova
I Am The Walrus

Photos used without permission and found here at and Anirudh Koul's flickr page under the Creative Commons license.


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