a concert that defines the era that will live on forever



The igs, as Noel Gallagher will tell you, were very different in the 90s. “You watch this movie and there is not a single cell phone, not one,” he said in a shoot. of questions and answers last night. Oasis Knebworth 1996 premiere in London. “They are in the moment with the band and the songs. It is special. It’s like a little snapshot in time that I can beat my kids over the head forever. A bit of “old man screaming at the cloud”, of course, but Noel is right in thinking that there may never be another show to rival Knebworth – in terms of scale or meaning.

Taking place over a cloudy weekend in August, the zenith of Oasis mania saw 250,000 madmen visit a field in North Hertfordshire (twice), with 2.7% of the UK population asking for tickets. Director Jake Scott’s new rock-doc-concert film hybrid includes all of the “sheeiiine” of the band’s career-defining performances, but it’s the fans who are really the center of attention. And their stories provide the emotional backbeat.

Real testimonies tell of dramatic reenactments as respondents scramble to buy tickets by phone or teletext. Then, if successful, the planning begins. “Where’s Knebworth?” Asks a girl after paying £ 22.50 (!) For her seat. Others commit to sleeping on train platforms or beg their older brothers to drive them from Scotland. TV news footage and radio sound bites create a buzz as we watch Liam, Noel, Bonehead, Guigsy and Whitey have fun during the soundcheck. If there is a cure for the post-COVID blues, it’s certainly footage of a half-cut Liam scurrying around in a golf cart, trying to run over his roadies.

Noel Gallagher during ‘Oasis Knebworth 1996’. CREDIT: Jill Furmanovsky

Ultimately, ultimately, the madness begins. Not with Oasis, surprisingly, but with a fire starter from The Prodigy on Saturday. Keith Flint’s Essex ravers join Manic Street Preachers, Ocean Color Scene, The Bootleg Beatles and The Chemical Brothers in support – Cast, Dreadzone, Kula Shaker, Manics (again) and The Charlatans performed on Sunday – but the Drum and Bass Prophet green-haired threatens to steal the show after shaking the crowds (as many women as men, surprisingly later given Oasis’ representative as the standard bearer of boy culture) into a frenzy. The Gallaghers don’t, of course – and start (literally, they strut the stage and throw inflatable soccer balls into the masses) with a spitting, snarling take on “Columbia.”

This is where Scott’s film really comes into its own. Through extensive remastering and technological witchcraft, he took a pre-digital recording that accumulated dust for 25 years and turned it into a wall of supersonic sound. Sitting in a state-of-the-art cinema, the tunes vibrate across the floor and the image is so crisp that you feel like you are immersed in the mosh pit with your feet first. Your flat screen TV will not be comparable.

As for the songs, this is the standard package for the greatest hits. “Acquiesce” and “Supersonic” follow “Columbia” in a murderous opening salvo, before “Roll With It”, “Slide Away” and “Cigarettes and Alcohol” buttress the middle section. Then the generational anthems “Wonderwall”, “Don’t Look Back In Anger” and “Live Forever” set up a callback to “Champagne Supernova” (with Stone Roses hasheman John Squire shouting the longest guitar solo. from the concert) and the Beatles cover ‘I am the walrus’.

It’s hard not to be blown away by the number of historical hymns on display – especially considering that two years earlier they had only had one single in the top 10. Scott explains the rise dazzling Oasis with a combination of cultural analysis and “right place-right time” indeterminism. These five guys from a Manchester municipal estate, according to the film, were perfect for a promising post-Thatcher boom of British youth, many of whom are interviewed in Knebworth while spending the night of their lives.

Despite all the runaway euphoria and criticism of historical significance, there’s still one thing (or rather a person) missing: Liam. The band’s iconic frontman obviously appears in archive footage, though no new interviews are included. There is a short, new audio clip at the end, but it feels stuck together and lasts a few seconds at most. After their much-publicized sibling feud, it looks like one of the Gallagher brothers chose not to be more involved in the film – but by which?

Apart from family disputes, there is not much to complain about Oasis Knebworth 1996. For those who were there, the film offers a portal to a golden age. For everyone else, it’s a reminder of those special teenage years – when a plastic cup full of hot lager and a sunny afternoon in a park makes the greatest adventure of your life. And yes, Noel, there were no cell phones.


  • Director: Jake scott
  • With: Liam Gallagher, Noel Gallagher, Paul Arthurs
  • Release date: September 23 (at the cinema)


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