UCF Arena, Orlando • 2.6.98

When George Bush became President, I had an interesting observation: even though the majority of Americans elected him, I couldn’t find a single person who would admit to voting for him. When I mentioned to people that I was going to see Oasis, I experienced a similar phenomenon. They’ve sold mountains of records, but nobody I talked to liked them — with the exception of fellow Ink Nineteen staffer Tony Coulson (and myself, of course).

So it was that the only two Oasis fans in Brevard County set out on a mission to prove to ourselves that we are misunderstood and not misguided. We knew that we were in for a memorable night when a car careened across the median on the Bee-Line Expressway and took out the car directly in front of us. Tony closed a Karmic circle by helping extract the victims of one vehicle, and with the pronouncement “Mike, our work here is done,” we proceeded on our way and arrived at UCF Arena without further incident. We got seated just in time to catch the final 2 songs of Cornershop, of whom I am also a great fan. I certainly would love to catch them again in a slightly more intimate setting. It was clear that a great deal of their trippy sitar-pop vibe was obliterated by the sterile arena setting. At about 10:00 Oasis came out and began to systematically destroy all my pre-conceptions.

First, and most obvious, they showed up — on time even. Secondly, I expected them to behave like preening, temperamental prima donnas, which they may have done, but if so, it wasn’t obvious from where I was sitting. Sure, Liam threw his tambourine a couple times but hell, who could resist that urge. Third, I had every expectation that the show would be a drunken, sloppy, half-hearted sleepwalk. It was anything but. They were probably the most professional band I have ever seen, with an almost obsessive attention to the sound and the accurate execution of their set. They tuned before every song, and during a memorable solo acoustic sequence by Noel, each song was performed on a different guitar. The sound quality was flawless throughout and they were fookin’ loud mate. As a big fan of vintage guitars and amplifiers, I was also thrilled by the awesome sight and sound of the many early Marshall, Vox, and Fender amps Oasis use on stage.

As for the songs, one might tend to forget the incredible string of pop classics that Oasis has penned in the last 4 years, and they played almost all of them, from “Live Forever” through to “Don’t Go Away.” It’s pretty rare today that a band can fill up an hour-plus set with chart-toppers. The single glaring omission: “Rock and Roll Star.” I’m not sure what to make of that. Maybe even Oasis won’t admit to liking Oasis, but I sure will.

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