When: Makomanai Ice Arena – Sapporo, Japan – 22 March 2009
With Noel and Liam gone their separate ways – it would appear unlikely that Oasis will ever re-unite. It would now appear then, that a snowy and wintry Sunday evening – in Sapporo, Japan of all places – will be the final time the Rockbrat will see the boys, the mighty Oasis – live. The concert was held at Sapporo’s Makomanai Ice Hockey Arena (scene of the closing ceremony for the 1972 winter olympics). Getting to the venue was a hoot – damn simple too. From JR Sapporo station, the Rockbrat exited and located the subway station entrance. Like many stations in Japan, all stations are handily numbered. A 500 yen return ticket to Makomanai Eki (station) was the cheapest option. When I arrived at Makomanai, there was an employee holding a sign for what I’d dub the ‘Oasis bus’, which took me straight to the venue (you hop onto the bus via the middle doors and when exiting, you deposit 200 yen in a machine adjacent the driver). It’s a five minute walk from the bus stop (just follow the hordes) to the venue. With the stunning snow-covered mountains close by, this has to be one of the most picturesque concert venues I’ve been to. Choosing wisely to sit out the opening band (I’d seen them a couple of times that week previously on this tour and they were so bad and unoriginal it ain’t worth mentioning), I braved the smoky food area to grab a beer (Sapporo, what else). As is the case with all shows in Japan, show time is early, around 6:45 PM and the boys kick off with ‘Rock n Roll Star’. Other show highlights were the crowd pleasing ‘Lyla’ and ‘Songbird’, plus a thumping ‘Supersonic’. ‘Waiting For The Rapture’ off the new album was another gem (scuse the pun). Seeing the great Noel Gallagher live is always a moment to be treasured, especially when he plays ‘The Masterplan’, ‘Slide Away’ and an impromptu version of ‘Whatever’ (as an encore). This was the first time in 10 odd years that the band had played ‘Whatever’ live so the Rockbrat lucked in there. Politeness is on display between songs
and it is eery but great (my cry for a rendition of ‘Magic Pie’ fell on deaf ears, though Liam did with retort with a quirky ‘yeah’ ? ‘Shock Of The Lighning’ was loud and glorious as was the longtime set-closer “I Am The Walrus’. By the reckoning of the Rockbrat – this had to have been the most potent performance in this venue since Queen in May of 1979. By 8:30 PM the show is over and the Rockbrat is soon lost amongst the Japanese rockers heading back to Sapporo….reflecting on a great show – from what was – the last ‘real’ rock n roll band left alive.