Sunday 25 September 2016

Review of the week: Oasis/The Prodigy * * *

Slane Castle, Co Meath

Published 26/06/2009 | 00:00

Oasis played at Slane last Saturday
Oasis played at Slane last Saturday

When Oasis last played Slane in 1995, they were less a rock and roll band than a lairy mob with attitude and half a dozen memorable songs to their credit. Fast forward nearly 15 years and... it's not clear what has changed.

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Nowadays, Liam Gallagher takes to the stage modeling designer cardigans from his own clothing line and the group's engine room has been beefed up with the former guitarist from Ride. Musically, though, Oasis have spent the past decade-and-a-half, essentially, in creative stasis -- new songs, even competent ones such as Shock Of The Lightning and The Importance Of Being Idle, are stoically received by an audience which refuses to come to life until the Gallaghers reach for their 'classics' -- ie anything from their first two LPs.

It doesn't help that Oasis have to follow a hammer-blow turn from The Prodigy. Like the Gallaghers, Liam Howlett's outfit have done in 10 years what it took The Rolling Stones a lifetime to achieve: become an ever-touring greatest hits karaoke act. That's despite the fact that new album Invaders Must Die is, by the admittedly modest standards of their recent output, something of a comeback.

There's lots of patented Prodigy shtick: dancer/vocalist Keith Flint plunges into the mosh-pit; the uber-buff MC Maxim appears constantly on the brink of breaking into a Haka as he implores the crowd to 'make some facking nooooo-ize'.

Still, their best material transcends the WWE theatrics: Diesel Power is Wagnerian in its relentlessness, Firestarter gloriously hokey -- while Out Of Space, with which they close, remains a persuasive OTT blend of reggae, rave and stadium rock silliness.

Oasis, in contrast, are eager to keep pushing on. Having larded the opening 20 minutes with oldies -- Roll With It, Rock And Roll Star, Cigarettes And Alcohol -- they take a risky veer into their latter-day repertoire, a strategy which sends many punters scurrying for the loo, or towards the noodle vans.

Ninety minutes of blistering stadium rock sets up a hit-laden finale: Wonderwall has all 80,000 singing along; Live Forever and Champagne Supernova echo out like generational anthems, and a encore rendition of The Beatles' I Am The Walrus sees Oasis asserting their classic band status.

Afterwards, many in attendance will face a long and horrendously stressful journey home -- according to reports, traffic chaos means some will not reach Dublin until 3am or later. For a few moments, however, all feels right with the world.

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