Monday, 23 February 2015

Memories of a thousand* gigs #40

(* probably not actually that many, but who’s counting?)

#40: Oasis
Knebworth Park - 10 August 1996
Support: Prodigy, Manic Street Preachers, Ocean Colour Scene, The Chemical Brothers, The Bootleg Beatles
Also present: MrsRobster

The overriding memory I have of this show is that I was there, and that’s really all you need. Like Nirvana at Reading in 1992 and Pulp at Glastonbury in ’95, Oasis at Knebworth has become the stuff of legend and I can proudly say “I was there” at all three.

This was “the fastest-selling ticket in British concert history”[1], but as gigs go, it doesn’t rate among my best ever. The bands however played to their biggest audiences to date, and for most of them the biggest crowds they would ever play to.

The Bootleg Beatles opened the show, adorned in Sgt Pepper uniforms. The Chemical Brothers were frighteningly loud, and Ocean Colour Scene were instantly forgettable, in spite of being absolutely huge at the time.

The same can’t be said of the Manic Street Preachers though. I recently recounted the first time I saw the Manics, in Torquay during the ‘Gold Against The Soul’ tour, and how I hated everything about them. At Knebworth though they turned me. It was a difficult time for them of course, it was less than a year since Richie Edwards disappeared without trace. Whether it was the emotion, the occasion, or a combination of both, the Manics rose to the occasion and played a fantastic set that forced me to reconsider my whole attitude towards them. A Design For Life in particular was enormous.

MrsRobster’s fave band of the day was the Prodigy. She was well into them at the time and particularly liked Keith. He was like some kind of mad animal on that stage; riotous and very, very watchable. I think for most people the Prodge were the highlight of the day aside from the headliners.

And what of Oasis? Well, I saw them at the aforementioned Glasto the previous summer when they were upstaged by Jarvis and co. Like then, they were good. But that’s it. They weren’t spectacular, they weren’t particularly interesting to watch. They did play a really good set of songs from the first two albums (and a couple that would turn up on ‘Be Here Now’), everyone sang along and had a great time. But I didn’t leave Knebworth thinking “wow, that was incredible.” I was, however, mistaken for Rik Mayall by some poor girl who soon realised she was mistaken and sloped away disappointed… We also encountered a car-load of pissed-up meatheads shouting abuse at people, but apparently that was normal at Oasis gigs.

Overall, it was an event I’m glad I attended, it just didn’t quite have that defining moment that Reading ’92 or Glastonbury ’95 had. But at least “I was there!”


Addendum: It was revealed this weekend that Oasis are planning to release a CD and DVD of their Knebworth antics. Full details here.

[1] According to the Knebworth House website.


  1. Are you the one fourth from the left near the speaker by the trees?

  2. Saw them in pairc ui chaoimh Co. Cork 4 days later.Took the long bus trip from Dublin. The Prodigy supported them along with The Bootleg Beatles on that day too!

  3. I was there as well, brilliant - a moment in time