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Oasis: Knebworth

Wednesday 12/15/21

I am exhausted. I've written so much and endured so much in the past few days. I will catch up on that on here shortly. Major works. Major fuckings/shaftings. Various publications. A full career in a week. Less than a week. The accounting will keep.

But Oasis recently issued a double CD of that blends together tracks from their two Knebworth gigs from August 1996. I would have rather had the full sets rather than a combined album, which replicates the running order of each night, so the thinking is, they give you the best version of each song. One can find the bootlegs out there, only the bootleg of the first night is an audience recording. The best gig I've ever seen was Oasis in Worcester in September 1996. So the following month from these shows. Noel Gallagher was recently saying that he was embarrassed how he and his bandmates--well, his brother Liam--used to carry on about being as good as the Beatles, saying now that it was never close. Okay. But that's going to too far in the other direction. Because, for a period--1994-1996--Oasis was up there with just about any band there has ever been. And the Knebworth live album is one that you can cite alongside Live at Leeds, Live/Dead, Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963, Live at the Star Club.

No one, of course, has written about it this way, or thought about it this way. Everything is predictable. There's little reason to read anything, because no one says anything interesting, let alone anything interesting that they back up. They say what they think is expected of them. For a time, Liam Gallagher possessed one of the foremost instruments in rock and roll history. Hendrix had his guitar, Keith Moon his drums, McCartney his bass, but Liam G. had his voice. It's an all-timer of a voice, before, alas, he blew it out, from singing incorrectly. After 1996, it changes. But it's difficult to sing better than he does here, on this version of "Slide Away." The Worcester version remains the single best performance I've ever heard at a concert. And I've seen some doozies. The Strokes and the White Stripes in their respective primes--and on the same bill; Radiohead in peak form. This isn't just about quality of voice. It's about technique. "Slide Away" is not an easy song to sing, and you need both a massive voice and a voice that sound intimate. Attitude and sensitivity. One of the eight or ten best vocal performances in the medium's history. Close your eyes. Listen. Have a life experience.


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