Glastonbury Festival remains one of the best and most acclaimed music festivals in the world, and for very good reason. The event down on Worthy Farm has a habit of putting names up in lights after one special performance. One such performance helped to catapult a band into the mainstream of the world and to this day Oasis’ debut performance at Glastonbury Festival in 1994 remains one of the best.
The Gallagher brothers and the rest of their rag-tag band had been making a pretty good name for themselves prior to their appearance in Somerset. Having signed to Alan McGee’s Creation Records in 1993, Oasis had been on a hype train intent on steadily increasing its speed.
The band had already made a name for themselves on the live circuit, been lent a guitar by The Smiths’ guitarist Johnny Marr—which Noel clomped someone around the head with—had a ‘special’ first appearance on TV, and found some widespread acclaim for their single release ‘Supersonic’. Despite that, Oasis had not yet “broke” through into the commercial and critical success which was ahead of them. The band’s heavy-hitting debut album, Definitely Maybe, was due out later in the year and would change their fate. The band were still firmly in their formative years by the time they found themselves in the company of Michale Eavis and his cows.
Would that stop them behaving like, singing like, and generally just being bonafide rock stars? No. Not a chance.
The band arrived to play the NME Stage at that year’s event with enough swagger and powerful tunes to be confident that they were going to be something to remember. It’s fair to say that they were right, but they didn’t do it with bluster alone. The set—which you can find in its entirety below—is littered with future classic and brilliant b-sides with the sparkle which would go on to define the band.
Entering the stage as one of their original incarnations, the five-piece made up of Noel and Liam, as well as Tony McCarroll, Paul ‘Guigsy’ McGuigan and Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs deliver a captivating performance. Liam, in particular, is near the peak of his powers. Brimming with confidence, blessed by his vocal performance, and with a fiery desire in his sun-shaded eyes, the frontman is in his element. Looking back it is easy to see that this band were determined to make things happen.
And make them happen they did. The next 12 months would see the band release their hugely successful and career-defining album Definitely Maybe. The record made them household names and would land Liam and Noel back in Glastonbury—but this time to headline the Pyramid Stage. That illustrious privilege came just a few short months before they would release another stomping album (What’s The Story) Morning Glory, which would send Britpop into overdrive.
Watch below as Oasis, at Glastonbury in 1994, set out their stall for what would be a glittering, galling, and an ultimately great career.
05:15 Fade Away
09:33 Digsy’s Dinner
12:24 Live Forever
17:18 Bring it on Down
22:02 Cigarettes & Alcohol
31:54 I Am the Walrus