Familiar to Millions

Familiar to Millions

4.3 3
by Oasis
     
 

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Although it seems as if Oasis are better known for the intra-band brawls the dueling Gallagher brothers engage in onstage than for the music they actually present there, this double-disc document does a nice job of capturing the tension, the energy, and the occasional bursts of outright majesty the Manchester lads are capable of generating in concert. Familiar to…  See more details below

Overview

Although it seems as if Oasis are better known for the intra-band brawls the dueling Gallagher brothers engage in onstage than for the music they actually present there, this double-disc document does a nice job of capturing the tension, the energy, and the occasional bursts of outright majesty the Manchester lads are capable of generating in concert. Familiar to Millions is largely culled -- with the exception of the tacked-on set-closing rendition of "Helter Skelter" -- from the pair of shows the band played at London's now-demolished Wembley Stadium this past spring. From the seething tenor of this lengthy collection, it's surprising Wembley didn't crumble during the Gallagher siege: Raucous renditions of "Cigarettes & Alcohol" and "Fuckin' in the Bushes" capture the Oasis worldview perfectly, and slow-burning, towering takes on "Champagne Supernova" and "Don't Look Back in Anger" translate the band's studio power to the stage without sounding carbon-copied. Similarly, their version of Neil Young's "Hey, Hey, My, My" manages to walk the fine line between the arrogance needed to carry off the song successfully and the respect the often-insolent musicians choose to show for the tune's author. Expansive, excessive, and not altogether orderly, Familiar to Millions is all the things a memorable live album should be.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jack Rabid
The Gallagher brothers' boundless, boorish, boasting bluster and blather only felt like brazen British working class moxie as long as they made great records that backed up their obnoxious arrogance. So when the songwriting fell off the last six years, on the bloated Be Here Now and Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, it was like watching helium hiss out of an overstuffed blimp. After all the bellicose babble, and the posturing prattle, Oasis's U.S. sales plummeted like the Hindenberg over Lakehurst. The pompous Wizard has been exposed and humbled, bringing joy to thousands of Totos tugging on Oasis's huffy pantleg, glad to see such massive egos get stuffed like smelly socks back up their big mouths. So leave it to Oasis to resort to the biggest, emptiest rock gesture of all: the huge-stadium live LP! Their popularity remains unchanged in home England, which still worships the group uncritically like the equally-diminished, figurehead Royal Family. So the brothers give us this document of Wembly stadium and its Canyonesque acoustics, with its cheering, singing throngs of 70,000 people. Just contemplating the 98-minute, double CD Familiar to Millions, you think, "They don't get it, do they?" So how come the group were actually able to pull this off, instead of dropping an overbearing embarrassment on us? It's because Oasis always deliver their material with conviction live, with the music as the focus in lieu of some bogus floor-show. And because they play a best-of set, going all the way back to their initial singles "Supersonic" and "Shakermaker," and such enduring tunes as "Acquiesce," "Roll With It," and "Live Forever," Familiar is a reminder of the substance they retain, even as they doggy-paddle along, stuck for bearings. Strong Noel-sung covers of Neil Young's "Hey Hey, My My" and The Beatles' "Helter Skelter" are also delivered in their hard-working, serve-the-song demeanor-this is no ghastly Rattle and Hum trip. Most of all, the band plays well. New key member Andy Bell, late of early-'90s fantastic favorites Ride (let's forget Hurricane #1) is twice the bassist Paul McGuigan was, so the loss of three-fifths of the original lineup has actually tightened them up. The band's strengths-Noel's hooks and Liam's strong, gruff, accented vocals-come to the fore, while the weaknesses-inferior material-are weeded out like it they were never written. Hell, only five of these 18 songs are post-1995, one of which, "Gas Panic!" (which sounds like it's sung by Bell, hurrah!), sounds vintage. It still would have been better to record at a rock theater or hall. This sounds a tad hollow, even though the guitars are so meaty-rare for a stadium tape. But if Oasis has been staggered here by a punch they invited (we'll see if they get off the canvas or not, as the siblings keep snipping at each other), Familiar shows they went down fighting as a touring live band. And with the mainstream rock scene as dire as it is now, we could still use them.

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Product Details

Release Date:
07/14/2009
Label:
Imports
UPC:
4547366047721
catalogNumber:
857683
Rank:
121950

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