Rokit Remembers: Oasis at Knebworth
Oasis fan or not, we have a lot to thank the Gallagher's for; an impressive Britpop back catalogue, a well founded pretext to don track jackets on the reg and Liam Gallagher's hilarious Twitter feed. We look back at that momentous day to mark the 20th Anniversary of Oasis' legendary slot at Knebworth.
Words by Danielle Morgan
It was on this day exactly 20 years ago that the Gallagher's descended on Knebworth Park to perform to a combined audience of 250,000 doting fans in possibly the most memorable and iconic performance of their career. Not only because of its sheer scale, but because they had only been on the scene for a few years and had already garnered the attention that most bands couldn't dream to achieve throughout their whole careers.
McGee was the name, and apparently hard drugs and a load of terrible signings was the game. The A&R big shot had ventured into Glasgow's King Tut Wah Wah Hut at some point in 1993. A last minute addition to the line up on the night, Oasis were a little known band who hadn't even appeared on the billing. Lucky for them, because off the back of a few chart flops, McGee signed Oasis on the spot, even though he admits not remembering much of the decade apart from that. He thinks they were good on the night... maybe. He couldn't really say. Anyway we can all agree it worked out for the best.
Oasis were the pinnacle of rock n roll. The infamous Gallagher family feud marred, or rather catapulted their careers and icon status throughout their time at the top of the charts, and has only intensified since their split. In their latest spat, Liam tweeted a pic of brother Noel captioned 'potato' and on another occasion more unrestrainedly 'pouting potato'. He didn't however, specify which potato brand Noel most resembled... Jersey Royal? Maris Piper? We're yet to hear word from Liam on that one.
Back to the matter in hand; it was a sunny Sunday on the outskirts of Hertfordshire and The Prodigy, Manic Street Preachers, Ocean Colour Scene and The Charlatans were all waiting in the wings to play support slots. By this point, Oasis had actually only released 2 albums. Possibly, probably their best, so that wasn't an issue. '90s A list royalty Kate Moss and Chris Evans were in attendance (not forgetting Z list Daniella Westbrooke, more about that later), so things are shaping up to be pretty alright here. Following a short interim before going on stage, Noel knocks on the back door of Knebworth House and asks if he can have a bath. He just fancies one, and if you're Noel Gallagher, you're seldom denied the pleasure of a dip in the tub. So off he trots upstairs, whilst Baron Cobbold (owner of Knebworth House) brings him up some champagne. Well, it's alright for some.
On the boys strut, with that Manc swagger that lets everyone know the Gallagher's have arrived. Straight in with Columbia, followed by B-Side corker Acquiesce and debut single Supersonic. 2 hours later the lads have practically drummed out their first 2 albums track by track, joined by The Roses' John Squire for an entrancing performance of Champagne Supernova (we can only imagine), but it wouldn't be an Oasis gig without throwing the Beatles into the mix and true to form they end the night with a rendition of I Am the Walrus.
Of course the actual event was as memorable as you wanted it to be, one fan recounted he cried for 10 minutes after the gig in sheer awe of what Oasis had achieved that night, inspired to pick up a guitar and start obsessively learning John Squire solos. Another remembered how he got let into the pit right at the last minute and found himself miming The Masterplan next to a pregnant Daniella Westbrooke. So you know, the gig had it's up and downs.
In October, Asif Kapadia will release his directorial-cum-executive-producer follow up to Amy with an Oasis documentary of the same ilk, no doubt hoping to scoop up a second Oscar in the process. Supersonic, named after their 1994 single taken from debut album Definitely, Maybe will document their rise to the top with unseen footage and exclusive interviews. Both Noeley G and Liam have endorsed the film, with ever humble Liam branding it 'BIBLICAL'. We take it he liked it then.
Knebworth marked a monumental shift in the Britpop movement, and undoubtedly the history of the band. It was the largest audience the band had amassed, would ever amass. When you've reached the top of your game, where do you go from there? It certainly seems as though it was the pinnacle of their careers; "I remember sitting there, at Knebworth, in the backstage area, and someone saying, 'Well, what now?' And I was like, 'I couldn't tell ya,'" Noel later told Uncut magazine. "It's like, what do you do when you've done everything?"
What do you do when you've done everything, Noel? A reunion, perhaps?
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For those of us who couldn't get our mitts on a ticket to the fabled shows, or were the wrong side of 2 years old, crack open a tinnie, press play and repeat after us... 'WE ARE NOT WORTHY'...
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