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Oasis Knebworth 1996

Big Brother Recordings Ltd.

Nov 26, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

1996 was Oasis’ best year and perhaps their last truly good year. At that point, the band that defined a musical era had released two visceral albums in quick succession: 1994’s Definitely Maybe and 1995’s (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? They had catapulted into the top tiers of music, making them into one of the most in-demand tickets. So much so that they could declare they were playing Knebworth, where The Rolling Stones, Queen, and Led Zeppelin had performed career-defining shows to upwards of hundreds of thousands of people. Oasis sold out one night in record time and added a second night, for a total of 250,000 attendees over the two days.

All of this is documented in the recent polarizing film, Oasis Knebworth 1996, complete with shaky, lo-res footage appropriate for the time, which captures the excitement and is a genuine snapshot of the moment and the energy from the point of view of the attendees.

The accompanying live album does a better job than the film. It focuses on the music, all pub sing-alongs that transfer easily to multiple thousands of people. The sound quality of the album is excellent, with an even balance of what’s coming from the stage, and just enough crowd noise to bring the live vibes, but not overwhelm the songs.

Liam Gallagher is in fine form. His voice is still fresh with less than a handful of years’ wear. His enthusiasm for being at Knebworth is palpable through his tone. The rest of the band are giving it their all, both under pressure, and propelled by the biggest gig of their lives. The group’s well-established static-style performances are bypassed with this audio-only edition of the Knebworth shows.

The 20-song setlist has no fillers. From “Columbia,” the balls-out opening track, the frenzy is accelerated with other smashers from Definitely Maybe such as “Supersonic” and “Cigarettes and Alcohol.” Morning Glory has its own share of belters that get everyone, on stage and off, going, such as “Hello,” “Roll with It” and the title track. Just as powerful, perhaps more so, are the mid-tempo numbers “Slide Away,” “Live Forever,” “Champagne Supernova,” and of course, “Wonderwall.” The set ends with a rousing, if barreled-through version of The Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus,” with which every Oasis fan knows the band ends their shows.

There is no messing with Oasis at this point in their career. The diminishing returns albums that came after the first two had not been written yet, so there is only the good stuff on Oasis Knebworth 1996. (www.oasisinet.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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