MILAN, Italy -- As Liam and Noel Gallagher stepped off the plane at Bologna Airport last Saturday, 19-year-old
Laura Liberatore stood mesmerized, her eyes focused on the brothers who she'd felt she'd known for years.
Yet all she really knew about the Gallaghers to this point she learned through the music, photos and some articles she'd come
across. Now was her big chance to move one giant step closer to rock's most notorious musical brothers -- to actually speak
to them, if just to let them know how she felt.
"I got the chance to speak with the band. They were really nice," said Liberatore, who'd arrived at the airport there from
Foggia, about 500 miles away, to join the country's most avid Oasis watchers. A small group of fans such as Liberatore came
from all over Italy to meet the pop-rock Manchester quintet as they landed in Bologna that day.
And when Oasis came through the door of a big red telephone box standing in the middle of the stage at the Forum Arena in
Milan the following night, more than 10,000 adoring fans exploded into a cacophony of screams. The show, one of two
sellouts here, was the second on the Italian leg of the band's European tour as Oasis had played in Bologna on their first
The band kicked off with the title track of their current album Be Here Now; "Sing a song to me/ One from Let It
Be," cried singer Liam
Gallagher, as the giant clock at the right side of the stage spun backward. While Oasis continue to make reference to their
Fab Four-fathers, the Beatles, in their lyrics and their lifestyle, some fans just don't see it: "The Beatles?" replied Marco
Tritano, a 17-year-old Liam Gallagher look-alike. "They're a different thing, coming from a different age."
Nonetheless, that night the Gallaghers and gang drove fans into a Beatlemania-style frenzy.
As the band moved through a series of hits such as "Supersonic," "Some Might
Say," "Roll With It" and "D'You
Know What I Mean" (RealAudio excerpt), Liam Gallagher strutted and jumped around the stage, returning to the
microphone only to sing. His hands crossed behind his back, he stood with his legs spread slightly and his knees bent, just as
he always does. On the contrary, his brother was motionless, too busy erecting a solid wall of sound with each wave of his
arm across his guitar. Drummer Alan White and the rest of the band stood apart from the brothers, clearly overshadowed by
Noel Gallagher's electric guitar turned the arena into a cathedral, the noise filling every crevice. The stage, complete with a
British booth and other traditional English symbols pictured on the Be Here Now cover, rose up like a dome-shaped
vault. An electrified Oasis turned up the juice for "Wonderwall," plugging in and transforming the strummy melodic number
into something bigger and better. "We just got tired of playing some same old songs in the same old way," Noel Gallagher
told MTV the following day. "That's why we changed 'Wonderwall.' I hope everybody liked it."
There was little doubt of that.
In fact, practically everyone in attendance turned on and tuned in to the updated electric melodies on songs such as "All
Around The World" or the encore "Champagne Super Nova" (RealAudio excerpt). Fans raised their arms and sang along, screaming with approval the
second they recognized a tune. Even for B-sides, "Stay Young" or "Acquiesce," which closed the two-hour set, recognition
was almost instantaneous.
At the first inkling of the closing notes, die-hard fans shouted for more and got it. Still not satisfied, some chased the band
around Milan the following day, bringing to mind scenes from the Beatles' mid-'60s film, A Hard Day's Night. It was quintessential Oasis, playing up
their Beatles best, courtesy of fanatical fans such as 21-year-old Isabella Basso.
"Last night's performance was great, better than the first one in Bologna. Liam was definitely more inspired," Basso said, as
she waited in the front of the hotel Oasis were rumored to be staying. She stood there with a small group of fans, praying for
the Gallaghers to emerge.
Meanwhile, about 200 lucky fans had gotten their hands on the coveted tickets for a recording of Sonic, a regional
MTV show that night. Before the performance, Noel Gallagher played a couple of songs on his own: "Stand By Me" and the
B-side "Talk Tonight."
The soft strum emitted from his acoustic guitar stood in stark contrast with the band's huge and electric show the night
before. But on camera, it was the same old Noel Gallagher. "I haven't played for such a small audience in two years," he said
during the program. Then, joking about his brother's absence, he added, "He's not shy. He's only terrified by his mother.
And by his wife, of course." [Wed., Nov. 19, 1997, 9 a.m. PDT]