Album review: Oasis

Oasis - Knebworth 1996 (Big Brother Recordings Ltd)

IN AN era where bands like Foals and Biffy Clyro can play to large audiences, but only after many albums and many years of working their way up the ladder, Oasis in 1996 proves LP Hartley’s dictum, “the past is a foregin country, they do things differently there”.

It seems extraordinary looking back now, that Oasis, with only two albums under their belt, could headline one of the most iconic locations for live music in Britain, and do it in front of 250,000 people - even the omnipotence of streaming and social media cannot guarantee such masses at such a show now.

It was the highpoint of Britpop. The following year Be Here Now burst that bubble. Blur reconnected with their art rock roots, Radiohead became ascendant, and it took Oasis unti 2002’s Heathen Chemistry to get their mojo back.

Those Knebworth concerts are now a documentary film and this double album. As a long time fan of Oasis, this is highly enjoyable. There is swagger (obviously ), confidence, and energy, with many songs seeming to bounce with an energy only such an occasion can give.

‘Some Might Say’ is the stand-out, its lyrics sounding wiser with the passing years. ‘Champagne Supernova’ is suitably grandstanding. ‘Whatever’, by contrast, sounds flat and perfunctory. There is a welcome, and lively outing, for B-side ‘Round Our Way’, and a pre-Be Here Now ‘My Big Mouth', better than the subsequent, overblown studio version.

As a live album, and a snapshot of a very particular moment in time, Knebworth 1996 is not for everyone. It is though, for diehards, for those who were actually there on August 10 and 11 that year, and those who can only wish/pretend they were.


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