Friday, August 11, 2006

Himalayan laddishness

Like pop, the NME is no stranger to eating itself and has pleasured itself on its own coverage of the pop phenomenon of Oasis’ Knebworth gigs, now 10 years old. Typically for the mainstream press – the event was seen as unquestionably brilliant, so in turn I thought I would add some context through my own diary review of the Sunday event…

“11 August The biggest ever gig in the world ever, of all time, ever
The planned early start for Oasis @ Knebworth was thrown into doubt by another late-night visit to the art student party house, for more chavved smokes until morning. I can’t think of anyone in particular who would want to make me feel welcome, but I suppose they recognised me from the previous few weeks, so they did. We scribble our tags, which, in a display of delayed adolescence, I have been writing on trains and in pubs for some time now. Listen to LTJ Bukem tapes. Kip there, run back, get ready in a rush and off to Sainsbury’s early doors for beers and a fry-up. My own feelings were one of blasé anticipation, as I’m not a great fan of the big rock gig experience, though the two days broke attendance records, a bit like City in 1934. No matter. For that reason, the gig would resonate far longer in the abstract past of “I was there” rather than specific moments of enjoyment.

The plus points were many: good vibes in the traffic jam en route to the site; well-chilled afternoon on the green by the pub, steady swigging while supports Kula Shaker and Dreadzone were very much in the background; meeting up with a trio of Stoke lads for a while, themselves similarly drug- and drink-free (the queues to the bar were legendary); scoring, one of our lot asked the shiftiest man he could find working the stalls and blagged some red seal round the back – this after another had bought some poxy “legal high” shit; caning that for the next three hours; listening to good sets from the Charlatans and the Manics, thousands of others similarly getting stoned as a supplement or replacement for alcohol; great mood of anticipation among the 120,000 before Oasis; Oasis – good, but not great, slagging off United and airing a couple of sound new songs; and a good smoke in the car afterwards, one of the few carloads to stay on.

The negative aspects: massive queues for beer, too many people, too big, too distant and therefore too quiet. We were simply so far away from the stage that the sounds and sights of the live experience were negligible, the chat around us sometimes being more invigorating. Also had to go straight to work from Knebworth and got fined at King’s Cross (though I got the money back). But all in all, well worth it. Some two-and-a-quarter years after I was barred from seeing them in their seminal form at a gig in Oxford (‘delegates only’ apparently) and they had since transformed the landscape of popular culture, I had finally seen Oasis.”
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