"I got tickets to Oasis at Knebworth! Where is Knebworth?"
No one really cared. Some knew it was a pokey little town, belonging to the county of Hertfordshire, the immediate north of London, while others may have remembered bands like Led Zeppelin and Queen playing there many years prior - but none of that really mattered. What mattered to a quarter of a million Brits in the year of 96' was that they were going to what promised to be one of the biggest music events of the decade.
Tickets were torn at the turnstiles and thousands of frantic teens legged it for the stage; the winners got to hold the barrier, but that also meant holding their bladders – but they also didn't care, knowing the pre-concert excitement would quell all regular bodily desires. Oasis were coming... and golly they came.
Liam in a white draping jacket, with Lennon's trademark glasses, rebranded without question for the newest icon of Brit Pop.
His hands clasp humbly behind his back as he sings, but he is nothing of the sort. Noel, the Paul Simon of the band, the song-writer, takes his place to the side and is adorned in a turtle neck sweater. The brothers are so remarkably different, but on stage at Knebworth, they are the same.
The grounds of Knebworth historically played host to only the aristocrats and other men of money, but over two nights, with 23 Pound-Stirling being the going rate for a ticket, the warm-beer drinkers of the day with their shirts off and fists raised, ensured that the de-gentrification process was a rousing success. The only ruling class was Rock and Roll and Knebworth was starting to look more and more like Woodstock.
Comparisons to the Beatles feel washed out and banal nowadays, but 'bugger it', as those at the concert would have said, what's one more!? Noel and Liam are cheeky and fun-loving, which was a foundation of the Beatles.
When Ringo Star was too stoned to meet the Queen, the rest of the band pushed him to the back and just told him to smile - you can see Noel doing the same to Liam after overindulging. Both refused to dilute their characters or filter their personalities; what you saw is what you got.
They played songs from their hallmark first two albums: 'Definitely Maybe' and 'What's The Story (Morning Glory), but the songs belonged more to the people than any album, filled with rich melodies and piercing words to usher in an new era of hope in the UK, having all but taken over the baton from the Stone Roses. The Documentary accompanying the album is an ode to those people, with interviews at the concerts, stories of reflection - some twenty-five years later - and thousands of emotional faces pasted all over the screen. Live at Knebworth feels like the best live concert we went to without actually attending.
The fans are exhausted but transfixed. No one hides behind the screen of a mobile phone to record a shotty recording that they will likely never watch again - gazing upon stardom goes unbroken for hours.
Listening to this concert is a must for all Oasis fans.
Watching this documentary is a must for all music fans.