jason stives visits The Theatre Of The Living Arts in Philadelphia to catch Beady Eye, the guys from Oasis who aren’t Noel Gallagher …
Starting a new band after being so closely associated with another is always tricky. Keeping that same band together but with a different name and throwing out any mention of the previous existence is even more challenging. But that is what Liam Gallagher of Oasis has done. Having finally imploded in August 2009 with Noel Gallagher’s sudden exit, Gallagher and the rest of Oasis have returned under the moniker Beady Eye, with an album and plethora of tour dates. Last night, the band closed out a four date tour of the United States with a show at The Theatre Of The Living Arts in Philadelphia, but would this show be viewed as Oasis plus Liam’s ego or would this band prove to be worthy enough to continue on even without its principal songwriter.
Regardless of a developed reputation and the absence of songwriting brother Noel, Liam Gallagher with the final lineup of Oasis — Gem Archer, Andy Bell, and Chris Sharrock — took the stage around 10 p.m. The soldout crowd t didn’t care if it wasn’t under their previous namesake, or that they weren’t going to hear some old favorites — this was a rock ‘n’ roll show. Already pumping a heavy rotation of The Who, The Beatles, and T. Rex through the PA system earlier, the band wasted no time proving the existence of the rock n’ roll artifact. Opening with “Four Letter Word,” the first track on their debut Different Gear, Still Speeding, spot lights blared and stacks of amps wobbled through the ruckus sound providing scenes of mass mobs dancing and flailing like good young people should.
Anyone expecting something different from previous shows on the tour shouldn’t have expected much. With just an album’s worth of material, the band pounded through bullet paced tracks like “Beatles And Stones,” “Millionaires,” and “Standing on the Edge of the Noise.” Beady Eye as a whole was no doubt there to be something other than just Oasis minus Noel and with the exclusion of any Oasis tracks, it was all an offering of the work of Gallagher, Archer, and Bell. A bit egotistical maybe but the crowd surely knew the new songs to a tee, chiming in on sing alongs to songs that would never be sing along songs.
Some may blame the heavy cockney accent, but with a continuous chorus of screams and yelling, anything Gallagher spoke of appreciation to the audience was left inaudible. That is why very little banter was exchanged between the band and the crowd of devoted fans. As a fan, I couldn’t help but picture something going wrong based on stories of Liam imploding on stage. Anytime he would signal off stage to guitarist Gem Archer or to one of the PA guys, I thought for sure he would exit stage right and find the nearest bar. That was an overestimate and Liam embraced every bit performing in his trademark nasal like voice and occasionally striking a pose or taking a breather while the band promenaded as first class musicians.
Much like they were as Oasis, Beady Eye never shied away from showing their love for the Beatles and songs like “The Roller” and “The Beat Goes On” played up that influence but the real surprise of hearing these tracks live was a sudden appreciation for Liam as a songwriter. During the 15 years Oasis released albums, older brother Noel wrote all their biggest hits, and to see Liam take up the mantle of the former band and write songs that were equally cared for by former Oasis fans was quite the treat. But even with a traditional rock sound, there still was that ever lingering thought of “this would be even better if it were Oasis.” This shouldn’t get in the way of original creativity but from the bowing and shouting of many fans, most were there to see just Liam, and for some thought they might sneak away with a sudden performance of “Wonderwall” or “Cigarettes And Alcohol.”
That was never going to be the case and regardless of the uniformity of keeping the band as Beady Eye and not Liam Gallagher plus company, by shows end only Gallagher’s exit after 70 minutes was warranted with the biggest reaction. That may be a personal observation and maybe the fans really dug the show. As they filed out around 11:20, many left in awe of seeing the last show of the tour and a repeat return will no doubt be in line before they record their second album due out next summer.
If there is one final thing to say about the closing night of Beady Eye’s oh-too-brief U.S. tour, it’s that the band appreciates their audience in all sizes. For a band that only days prior had headlined the Isle of Wight festival in front of 65,000 people, less than 1,000 may seem like a downgrade. However, for all his egotistical leanings in the press, Liam Gallagher appreciated every person for showing up. Standing statuesque at times, you could never tell if he was doing it for picture opportunities or if he was in a trance of sorts. Personally, it was just breathing in what always matters at the heart of a band’s existence at that is devoted love to the spirit of the music. Beady Eye will probably never be as big as Oasis, much to Liam’s personal dismay, but he will always have a crowd.
1. Four Letter Word
2. Beatles And Stones
4. Two Of A Kind
5. For Anyone
6. The Roller
7. Wind Up Dream
8. Bring The Light
9. Standing On The Edge Of The Noise
10. Kill For A Dream
11. Three Ring Circus
12. The Beat Goes On
13. Man Of Misery
14. The Morning Son
16. Sons Of The Stage (World Of Twist cover)