News Flash: Oasis To Bite The Big Apple

With their new album setting records in the U.K. but not doing as well as expected in the States, Oasis will make their second tentative step back into the live arena here with a pair of New York shows in October.

After opening two shows in Oakland on U2's PopMart tour this summer, Oasis have scheduled TV and live concerts in the Big Apple next month, as a preview of what is expected to be a major U.S. tour in '98 in support of their third album Be Here Now, according to Melissa Dragich, a publicist at their label.

Although they have no plans for a full tour until after the new year, the Gallagher brothers will descend on New York for a week beginning Oct. 4, when they play their first-ever "Saturday Night Live" gig with Matthew Perry (Friends) hosting.

That appearance on the late-night comedy show will be followed by two shows at the 3,700-capacity Hammerstein Ballroom on Oct. 7 and 8, and an appearance on the David Letterman show on Oct. 9. According to Dragich, tickets for both New York appearances went on sale Saturday morning, with the first show selling out in 20 minutes, and tickets for the second, quickly-added gig, selling out by mid-afternoon Saturday.

The Fun Lovin' Criminals, who also opened some shows on the PopMart tour, will open both N.Y. shows.

The last time Oasis tried to tour America, in September of 1996, singer Liam Gallagher failed to show up for the tours' Chicago show, and the band abruptly canceled the the rest of the tour with five dates to go amid rumors of a possible break-up. Instead of breaking up the band, both of the Gallagher brothers got married, and they completed Be Here Now.

Oasis kicked-off a mini-European tour in support of Be Here Now, at the Oslo Spektrum in Norway on Sept. 8 and continue on the road through Sept. 30, including three sold-out nights at London's Earl's Court on Sept. 25-27.

Although Be Here Now has broken album sales records in England, selling 1.25 million copies in less than a month, U.S. sales have been less overwhelming, with 225,381 units moved as of last Wednesday, according to the band's label, Epic. Oasis' second U. K. single, Don't Go Away, like the album's first track, "D'You Know What I Mean," has not been released as a single in the U.S., but that hasn't stopped it from getting into heavy rotation on one of the nation's taste-maker alternative stations, L.A.'s KROQ.

"It usually takes listeners a while to get used to a new song," said Golden Curtis of the station's programming department. Curtis said of the ballad, currently #3 on the rotation list, "as far as I can tell it is getting moderate requests, the album definitely hasn't exploded like their last one [1995's (What's the Story) Morning Glory?]."

That feeling was seconded by Spud, of the programming department at San Francisco modern rock station LIVE 105. "It's hard to tell how people feel about that song. It hasn't made the top 5 countdown at night yet, unlike 'D'You Know What I Mean'."

Spud also said, in an unusual twist, several non-single tracks have been garnering a number of requests. "It seems like people have bought the album and picked some songs they like, because 'Magic Pie' and 'Stand By Me' have been getting a bunch of requests and it's rare to get non-single requests like that."

According to the band's official website, the UK single for "Stand By Me" will be released on Sept. 22 and will be backed by three new songs: "(I Got) The Fever" on all formats, "My Sister Lover" on 12" and CD, and "Going Nowhere" on CD only. -- Gil Kaufman [Tues., Sept. 16, 1997, 9 a.m. PST]