*** My 5/5 review is now live ***
The story of the largest concert of the ‘90s, through the eyes of the fans who were there, with additional interviews with the band and concert organisers. If you see me in the crowd, please let me know!
Back in the mid-90s, after getting paid and shelling out on all my bills each month, I would scour the back pages of the NME for gig adverts, and take buses into the local countryside for odd festivals, once meeting Dodgy in a tent in Stockton-on-Tees. I’d also set aside money for two CDs, from an actual high street shop, but sadly either my taste was a bit off or good music wasn’t released in regular one-month slots, to coincide with payday — as along with the Oasis, Beth Orton, Blur, Charlatans and Suede classics I also have, somewhere, a CD single called Hanging Around by Alex James’s side project, Me Me Me. Heady days indeed.
That — along with a bad-boy boomerang love life, a terrible pixie cut, and listening to There She Goes by The La’s on repeat to see if I could spot an actual verse — is a synopsis of my 20s.
And if you think that’s long, wait til you read the synopsis of the new Oasis documentary about their famous Knebworth concerts:
Oasis’s two record breaking nights at Knebworth took place on 10 and 11 August 1996, with over a quarter of a million young music fans from all over the world converging on Knebworth Park, Hertfordshire to see the legendary sets. Tickets went on sale on 11th May 1996. Queues formed outside local record shops and ticket offices overnight, and fans around the world spent the day on their landline phones trying to get through to constantly engaged booking lines. All tickets sold out in less than 24 hours, breaking every UK box office record in the process. Organisers estimated the band could have sold two or three times as many tickets, with over 2% of the population of the UK attempting to buy tickets.
The monumental shows were set against a backdrop of the UK slowly recovering from a decade of recession. Emerging from the ‘80s, the mood of the nation was changing. A cultural resurgence in arts and culture was giving rise to Cool Britannia and, in their meteoric rise, Oasis embodied that new found optimism and swagger. Two short years had taken the band from their council estate in Manchester to becoming one of the biggest bands in the world and for the congregated masses, seeing themselves in the five men on stage in front of them, anything felt possible. Featuring a setlist absolutely packed from beginning to end with stone cold classics, from the opening salvo of ‘Columbia’ and ‘Acquiesce’, all the way to ‘Champagne Supernova’, ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’, ‘Live Forever’, a triumphant, orchestra backed ‘I Am The Walrus’, and the first song from the 1990s to cross one billion streams on Spotify, ‘Wonderwall,’ the Knebworth concerts were both the pinnacle of the band’s success and the landmark gathering for a generation.
Whew, I need a lie-down. Once I’ve just downloaded all the Oasis albums I bought on CD 25 years ago and are now somewhere in the garage, or possibly sold to one of those music buying websites for 5p each.
Check out the trailer now:
Directed by Grammy Award-winner Jake Scott, Oasis Knebworth 1996 is a joyful and at times poignant cinematic celebration of one of the most iconic live concert events of the last 25 years, driven entirely by the music, and the fans’ own experiences of that monumental weekend.
Oasis Knebworth 1996 is released in cinemas worldwide from 23 September via Trafalgar Releasing. A full live album and DVD/Blu-ray, also titled Oasis Knebworth 1996, is due for release on 19 November via Big Brother Recordings Ltd.