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Oasis joins classic ranks with ‘rockumentary’

James rudy | Tuesday, January 30, 2007

With the successful release of its retrospective collection, “Stop the Clocks,” Oasis has begun to define the concept of longevity for both ’90s groups and current acts. Like other international bands before, Oasis has wrapped up its sound and continues to package it over and over again without missing a beat. With the release of its full-length documentary, “Lord Don’t Slow Me Down,” Oasis joins the ranks of The Rolling Stones, The Who and the Sex Pistols – all of whom it cites as key influences – in supplementing its music with film documentation of life on tour.

“Lord Don’t Slow Me Down” captures over a year’s worth of music and music-related moments from Oasis’ most popular venues in the United Kingdom, United States and Japan, including head banging in the streets, birthday parties and backstage dancing during the May 2005 to March 2006 “Don’t Believe the Truth” world tour. Director Baillie Walsh shot most of the film in black and white, lending it a timelessly artistic feel that renders the band as classic and contemporary.

Another reason for fans to be excited is that the film features a new song, also called “Lord Don’t Slow Me Down,” written by Noel Gallagher and recorded during the “Don’t Believe the Truth” sessions. The song was left off of “Don’t Believe the Truth” because Noel said he would be singing too many of the album’s songs if it was included. Amusingly enough, he also told reporters that his girlfriend thinks “Lord Don’t Slow Me Down” is the only Oasis song to which people can dance.

Unveiled to coincide with the release of Oasis’ best-of album, “Lord Don’t Slow Me Down” premiered in the U.K. on Channel 4 on Nov. 19, 2006 at 11:50 p.m. – 10 minutes before “Stop the Clocks” was released. Various fans-only private screenings took place in 2006, and a future DVD release has yet to be settled. However, the band said it would be in 2007. Other bands that can be seen in the film include Jet and Kasabian – two groups that took part in the “Don’t Believe the Truth tour” – as well as Girls Aloud, a new British pop group that appears in a cameo.

The best-of album and full-length “rockumentary” both mark an epic moment in Oasis history, but whether the band can become any bigger than what it has already been remains to be seen. Oasis will receive the prestigious BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, with the impressive list of previous winners including The Beatles, John Lennon, U2 and The Who. But while the award is an honor, it’s also a sign that the band’s popularity could stay grounded in the U.K. For whatever reason, the U.S. has been reluctant to crown Oasis as the next Beatles, even though the group’s present drummer happens to be Zak Starkey, son of Beatles drummer Ringo Starr.

Fans who continue to indulge in Oasis’ music will be more than consoled by this well made and fascinating documentary, despite what “Stop the Clocks” lacks in fresh material. The outstanding “Lord Don’t Slow Me Down” reaches heights of intimacy and power with its source material, giving audiences both phenomenal concert viewing as well as a rare glimpse behind the curtain.