Relive the moment Oasis performed ‘Champagne Supernova’ for 140,000 people at Knebworth
We’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to bring you an absolute corker as Oasis performs their anthemic hit, ‘Champagne Supernova’, for 140,000 fans at Knebworth.
Let’s take a trip back to 1996. Things were a little simpler then. Euro ’96 had given pub-goers a refrain to scream across their favourite beer, the world was without ‘likes’ or ‘followers’, and Oasis were at the top of their game.
To celebrate being so widely adored by anyone who wasn’t in Blur, the brothers Gallagher and the rest of the band that formed Mancunian legends, Oasis, decided they would put on a show. The kind of show that hadn’t been seen since the seventies, Oasis wanted to take over Knebworth.
It would all go down on the weekend of August 10th, 1996, where Oasis, four lads from Manchester, with one tumultuous brotherhood at its core, took to the stage at Knebworth House for the first of their two-night residency which would not only see them play to 250,000 people but cement their legacy as one of the greatest rock and roll acts ever.
In truth, they could’ve sold out the event for another 15 nights at least, with over 2.5 million applications for tickets, which was not only a record but also 4% of the British population. The event had 3,000 crew members, 7,000 people on the guestlist and even it’s own radio station.
Radio Supernova was broadcast on 106.6 FM within a 20-mile radius of the site. Anyone tuning in was regaled with wall-to-wall Oasis anthems, plus songs from the various support bands, site information, and travel news. It would be enough to crush most artists with stage fright, but Oasis weren’t like most bands.
Strolling out to the mammoth crowd with two number one albums in their back catalogue, the group were full of beans, and probably a lot more besides. “This is history,” Noel told the crowd as he entered the stage. “I thought it was Knebworth,” replied Liam. It was a moment that would typify the event—Oasis were on the top of their game.
“I always thought we should have bowed out after the second night at Knebworth,” guitarist Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs told The Guardian in 2009. It’s a fairly good argument, too. While Oasis fans will point to the plethora of material recorded after the event, it’s hard to imagine the band ever topping this moment.
You can find out the full details of the event via our deep dive, here. But while the weekend went on to put Oasis on the top of the Britpop pile, it was a moment during their encore on the final night, when Oasis really took the baton of Manchester’s music scene. The Gallaghers welcomed the dynamic guitarist John Squire on stage for a performance of ‘Champagne Supernova’.
Squire is an unsung hero of the rock and roll world. The guitarist for The Stone Roses changed the way many people believed rock and roll could be consumed. His ability to melt genres with one another means his place in the rock and roll hall of fame should be confirmed. Noel and Liam paid homage to that fact, and his band’s influence on them as kids, and welcomed the star on stage to play on their anthemic hit. After getting the entirety of the crowd to boo him for his football team choice.
Once the pantomime is over, the real show can begin and, backed by Squire, Noel and the rest of the band launch into their (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?standout ‘Champagne Supernova’. What transpires after that is something you don’t experience very often in life. A heaving mass of bodies swaying and singing in unison, connected by song and lifted by the humanity of experiencing it together.
Reliving the moment they sang ‘Champagne Supernova’ at Knebworth for 140,000 is the perfect distillation of this feeling. Liam Gallagher may have been singing to a mass of unidentifiable faces, yet for those in the audience, he was singing not directly to them but with them.