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In The Flesh

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Oasis
Meadowbrook Music Festival
June 18

Most blowhards have moved from dismissing Oasis’s Beatles fetishism to skewering the group’s lukewarm LPs and perfunctory live performances. There’s some truth there — this year’s Don’t Believe the Truth is only marginally better than 2002’s Heathen Chemistry, and Oasis famously plays the same set each night. But as their recent, sold-out Meadowbrook appearance proved, that’s also shite. Oasis in 2005 blends arena-trouncing power with buggering rock swagger. (Or blubbering stumble, in the case of a few lawn seat lushes.) Their hits are there — "Live Forever," "Cigarettes & Alcohol," "Don’t Look Back in Anger" — and new songs like "Lyla" and "Mucky Fingers" work better live. But beyond the anthems and muscular trad-rock, Oasis offers what they always have, and that’s unity and belief. Their music is a loutish strain of pub rock that locked step with Brit-Pop for better chicks and drugs, and everyone knows pub rock doesn’t apologize for anything. Liam Gallagher didn’t at Meadowbrook. He happily pantomimed his younger self’s cocksure microphone stance and crowd-baiting narcissism. He even balanced that nervous tambourine on his skull as if it were a fresh trick. But it wasn’t nostalgia. He’s still Liam G., but he’s somehow transcended arrogance to land on a new, spiritual level of coolness. He’s become a conduit, like Neo or Jay-Z. Leering, clowning, and channeling his gruff Lennon, Liam represented everything the crowd wanted in rock ’n’ roll, and there was unity between the graybeards, teenagers and hockey players. Forget the blowhards: in Oasis’s set, there was belief in the truth. Johnny Loftus is a freelance writer. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com

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