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POP MUSIC | MIXED MEDIA

Oasis Live, Before the 'Glory' Days

***, OASIS, "Live by the Sea," PMI Video

July 14, 1996|Robert Hilburn

Most U.S. rock fans got their introduction to Oasis through last year's hit album "What's the Story (Morning Glory)?"--a marvelously appealing collection whose melodies and themes are filled with all sorts of engaging, Beatles-esque touches, from the comfort and devotion of "Wonderwall" to the self-doubt and tension of "Cast No Shadow."

But there was also much to enjoy in Oasis' first album, 1994's "Definitely Maybe," one of the most uplifting rock excursions in years. In such songs as "Rock N Roll Star" and "Live Forever," one felt echoes of virtually everything that was joyous about '60s and '70s British rock, from nods to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to T. Rex and the Sex Pistols.

Because the band's concerts now focus, understandably, on newer material, we may not have the chance to hear many of the songs from that debut collection onstage again. That's why this video of an April 1995 Oasis concert in England is such a treat. Besides nine of the 11 songs from "Definitely Maybe," it includes some inviting numbers that were B-sides of the group's British singles as well as the quartet's signature show closer, the Beatles' "I Am the Walrus."

Oasis' live show has improved considerably since this video was shot, thanks both to the addition of the "Morning Glory" songs and to the fact that songwriter-guitarist Noel Gallagher brings some welcome intimacy to the proceedings by taking over on lead vocals from his brother Liam for a few acoustic numbers.

Still, "Live by the Sea" is an invaluable look at a great young band in the early flush of its commercial and creative ascent.

*

Items in this periodic survey of pop-related books, videocassettes and laser discs are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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