Bad boys reformed … and together

Pub date December 2, 2008
SectionMusicSectionMusic Features

PREVIEW Superficially, Britpop arena monsters Oasis and alt-country whiz kid Ryan Adams appear to be strange bedfellows. But on further review, their careers bear a striking resemblance. Both Oasis and Adams burst onto the music scene from seemingly nowhere: Oasis with its Definitely Maybe (Creation, 1994) and Adams as the ringleader of critical darlings Whiskeytown. From there, both tasted their greatest successes. Oasis’ (What’s the Story) Morning Glory (Creation, 1995) sold more than 18 million copies worldwide, spawning their two best-known songs, "Wonderwall" and "Champagne Supernova." After Adams split from Whiskeytown in 1999, he released Heartbreaker (Bloodshot, 2000) and Gold (Lost Highway, 2001), which remain his most popular albums. Though Oasis and Adams have enjoyed solid sales and sold-out concerts through the middle part of their respective careers, they’ve endured commercial backlash, with fans becoming disillusioned with bad behavior, prickly relations with the media, and uneven albums. Gallagher brothers Noel and Liam, and Adams gained reputations as unstable, petulant artists, given to substance addiction, which often overshadowed their music.

Lucky for us, both Oasis and Adams seem to have grown weary of their bad-boy personas, and have recently focused on writing music reminiscent of older glories. Oasis’s new Dig out Your Soul (Big Brother/Warner Bros.) is a swaggering, triumphant return to form, that sees the likely lads from Manchester scaling back the power ballads and turning up the guitars to create their most engaging effort since Morning Glory. The ever-prolific Adams has kicked heroin, formed a new group called the Cardinals, and released Cardinology (Lost Highway), which is perhaps the strongest, most cohesive effort of his career. The two groups join forces Dec. 3, bringing their expansive, impressive catalogs to the Oracle Arena. Here’s hoping they’ll highlight past successes and bright futures.
OASIS AND RYAN ADAMS AND THE CARDINALS Wed/3, 7 p.m., $37.75–$66.25. Oracle Arena, 7000 Coliseum, Oakl. (415) 421-8497,