Even for a band like Oasis, who have achieved pretty much all there is to achieve in music, one night must live longer in the memory than most, their homecoming show at Maine Road in 1996.
All the ingredients are there for a showstopping performance. Hometown? Check. Taking place at the home ground of their dear Man City? Check. In the middle of one of the largest youth cultural swells of the last few decades? Check. Most importantly, a growing catalogue of tunes capable of bringing the house down? Big fat check.
In 1996 there was not another band that could touch the rapturous popularity of Oasis. The band had even left Britpop rivals Blur in their wake when they embarked on a series of humongous gigs. They would go on to rule the world with their gigantic August show at Knebworth House. But it was their homecoming gig at Maine Road that many people remember most fondly.
In front of 40,000 Mancunians the band performed some songs from their last two mega-albums, Definitely Maybe and (What’s The Story) Morning Glory as well as a few notable covers to boot. But while the band were at their peak and their music fresher than ever, one other aspect of the evening really takes the cake on the video below; the crowd.
We know, we know. If Noel Gallagher were reading this he would be pissing himself with laughter that the crowd have so much credit being given to them. But hear us out, have you ever been to see a great band with a terrible crowd? You can see the group you cherish doing their best to get the audience moving but nothing can seem to shake them. It’s heartbreaking.
One needs a great crowd for a great gig and if you’re stuck for where to find one, then normally the best place is Manchester (or Glasgow). Luckily for Oasis, that’s exactly where they were heading for their hometown show. Lucky for the fans in attendance too because above all else, Oasis, always put on a show, no matter where they played.
Whether it was a good or bad show is kind of a moot point, as it would always, always be entertaining. Whether it was Meth-induced wig-outs in Hollywood or the triumphant splendour of Knebworth—Oasis know their way around a stage.
With such a ginormous event (40,000 people attending each night) looming before them they were keener than ever to make sure the crowd left delirious and steadfast in their assessment of Oasis as one of the best rock bands in the world.
It was a tough argument to disagree with, Oasis were on a high in April ’96. Their first two records had begun to define a generation and they were on the brink of superstardom. With this performance, the band would make sure that there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Oasis were the real deal.
With each night starting with the ‘Morning Glory’ helicopter sounds while LG took a crafty fag break on stage, before launching into ‘Swamp Song’. The band slammed through their growing catalogue of anthemic tunes, even finding time for the newer songs like ‘Roll With It’—it was turning into one of those electric evenings. The full setlist can be found below.
But our favourite moment of the night comes from when Noel Gallagher takes over the mic and begins to sing the anthemic ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’. It is the perfect meeting of artist and audience. As Noel slips on the odd lyric he is backed by 40,000 screaming fans. When the audience go a little cold, Noel delivers a shimmy on the guitar to raise the temperature. It’s the harmony of rock and roll that turns it from good night out to a life-changing experience. And trust us, Oasis had a few of them.
Watch one of those moments below as Oasis sing ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ at Maine Road in 1996.