Friday, February 5, 2010

Oasis - Toronto attacker court update

According to press reports, sentencing was supposed to take place today for the Toronto-area man who pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm when he jumped Oasis leader Noel Gallagher on stage at the Virgin Music Festival in September 2008.

But things have been delayed to allow for Gallagher to come to court to deliver a victim impact statement in person.

Wow, that'll be interesting to see and hear.

Oasis were in the middle of their set at the festival when Pickering, Ontario contractor Daniel Sullivan somehow got through security, ran onstage and tackled Gallagher from behind, bringing the proceedings to a (literally) crashing halt. Gallagher was sent crashing hard into his monitors, suffering three broken and dislodged ribs in the process. Unbelievably, Sullivan then lunged at Liam Gallagher, known worldwide for his punch-ups, before being tackled by security.

The show was halted for about 10 minutes while Noel's health was checked, to determine if the show could continue, and to allow the band time to regroup at the side of the stage. Although the evening's mood had turned dramatically, the band did return to the stage to finish their set.

I have produced live national broadcasts with Oasis in the past. On this day, I spent an hour midday with Noel at his hotel, as audio engineer for a national radio interview. Even got a quick photo with him backstage a couple of hours before things went off the rails. He comes across in person as confident and articulate, and I have to say, despite the constant presence of a fairly large bodyguard, he was very accommodating to fans when approached. After the event, it felt very strange to have spent time with someone involved in such an international incident; Noel doesn't know me from a hole in the ground, but given all the press interviews he'd done that weekend, he did recognize me on site and was cool about my request for a photo.

According to a Canadian Press report, Sullivan's lawyer, John Collins, contested the judge's ruling, essentially playing the victim card for his client. Collins stated that Sullivan and his family had suffered enough and wanted to put the matter behind them, suggesting that "Mr. Sullivan has had this like an albatross around his neck for 1 1/2 years. He and his family have suffered difficult and emotional distress."

I'd say get used to it, Daniel: it's in the history books and people all over the world will forever know your name because of your senseless act.

It'll be fascinating to see what Gallagher delivers in court. Keep in mind that the stage is a somewhat sacred place for performers; a place to feel free, uninhibited and creative while getting their job done. The last thing artists should be concerning themselves with, while working, playing and living "in the moment," is their safety - that's why they pay people to handle security for them, let alone what the festival security detail was supposed to provide, in this case.

Something went terribly wrong at the Virgin Music Festival that night. We'll get Gallagher's side of it....soon.

Watch the incident here, and keep an eye out for Liam loading up for a shot at Sullivan as security drags the attacker away.