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Music DVD Review: Oasis – Lord Don’t Slow Me Down

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Tour documentaries often leave me cold. A tour documentary has to balance the needs of a filmmaker while serving the music, the artist, and the audience. There are several questions that have to be considered to pull off such a delicate balancing act. Is there a story? Does it need to be told? Can the director tell it? Will the band allow it? Those are just the basic questions. Even if they're all answered in the affirmative, there are still dozens of places to fuck it all up.

Don't Believe The Truth was a sensational record, completing the Oasis comeback that started with Heathen Chemistry. The songs were better, the band was tighter, and director Baillie Walsh convinced the band to let him tag along with them to document the tour.

Oasis has sold millions of records in part because of the antics and quotes of the Gallaghers, Noel and Liam. The proposition of seeing those two in a "behind-the scenes" setting is attractive enough to have the reality TV and tabloid-obsessed public salivating to see this spectacle. On the other side of the spectrum, Noel Gallagher has written some timeless songs that manage to rise above the public spectacle of the Gallaghers’ offstage life. The power of those songs is strong enough that fans have continued to support the band even when they've taken the occasional wrong turn.

Unfortunately, Lord Don't Slow Me Down isn't able to tap in to either of those two assets.

Oasis is a polarizing band that you either get or you don't. I'm sure there are a handful of people who are lukewarm to their music, but most are going to walk to one side of the room or the other. I've been on the pro-Oasis side since I heard "Live Forever" in '94 and have never strayed.

There was a time when following Oasis around would have made for a must-see film with all the tawdry behavior, hedonistic pursuits, and outrageous antics. The Oasis of LDSMD comes off tamer. I don't know if it's because the guys have calmed down or because they wouldn't allow Walsh to show the raunchier moments. Noel comes off as likable and clever, Liam comes off as, well, Liam- only he's not quite as Liam as you might expect (Oasis fans will understand what I'm talking about). Finding out your heroes are more down to earth than you expect might be a revelation, but it doesn't necessarily make for a better film.

The real treat on this set comes on the second disc of this 2-DVD set. 16 of the 20 songs performed at the band's homecoming show at City of Manchester Stadium are presented here. It would have been great to get the full show, but what's here is fantastic and serves as one more reminder of why so many people still care about these guys.

Watching the film through the prism of my fandom, I found the film entertaining and interesting enough to purchase and own. I wouldn't recommend it for the small handful of casual Oasis fans and it certainly isn't going to change the mind of anyone who has decided they don't like the band already.

A word of advice to those watching the film: turn on the subtitles! Liam Gallagher can sing like a bastard but trying to decipher his slurred speech is damn near impossible.

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About Josh Hathaway

  • http://www.marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    i’ve always wondered how big the market is for these kinds of documentaries…because i love them. especially when they show the musicians trying to put the material together (i’m thinking here specifically of the first half of Sting’s Bring On The Night).

    heck, if there was enough of that kind of thing on this disc, i’d be interested in it even though i can’t stand Oasis!

  • http://www.mondoirlando.com DukeDeMondo

    Excellent review Josh. I haven’t seen this yet, but i DID see the hour-long version Channel 4 screened here in the United UK earlier in the year. I enjoyed it, although as you say, a document of the Be Here Now tour would’ve been a fuck of a lot more explosive.

    Noel himself has said in interviews something to that effect, which leads me to believe that the tame Oasis captured herein has nothing to do with restricted access and more to do with the fellas being knocking on in years and more likely to be shoppin at Homebase for a new coffee table than FREEBASING coffee tables.

    Incidentally, there was documenary produced back in the day that was screened on BBC1 the night before (i believe) Be Here Now was released. It was a much more This Is What Led To Here biographical sort of affair, but some great performances therein of tunes of that much-maligned and underrated slab of hedonistic genius.

  • http://www.confessionsofafanboy.com Josh

    Sir Duke, thanks so much for checking it out then. There’s a bonus feature on the first disc of the DVD where Noel does some Q&A and he talks a bit about those Be Here Now days.

    You and I have talked about that album and I have to say I’ve softened up on it a bit. I think I unfairly lumped it in with Shoulder of Giants. Be Here Now is big on ambition and short of ideas, but at least it has ideas and the ambition leads to some pretty cool places. Giants is mostly bereft of ideas. I think the other reason I’ve slagged Be Here Now is because I’ve heard the B-sides and created better third albums in my own mind. Noel is a victim of his own prolific nature.

    I’m currently listening to Shotter’s Nation as I prepare my review of it. I know we’ll have a good chat about that.