April 27th, 1996, exactly 24 years ago today, Oasis had the world in their hands. Taking to the stage for their two-night residency at Manchester’s Maine Road, the home of their beloved Manchester City, the band were at the peak of their powers.
The summer of ’96 was the pinnacle of Oasis’ career as they would takeover Knebworth for two historic performances in August which would round off their summer in epic fashion. However, it was their Maine Road concerts earlier in the season which would see the band become the stadium rockers the Gallagher brothers had always dreamt of being.
The residency at Maine Road is just as seismic a moment in the history of Oasis as Knebworth. It was their first chance to prove they could do it on the biggest stage. It was also the first time that Noel had debuted his iconic Union Jack Epiphone Sheraton which was played for the first time, an instrument that became the embodiment of the Britpop years.
According to Bonehead, the guitar was a gift from Noel’s then-girlfriend and now wife, Meg Matthews. “She got a guy in London who did up guitars to spray a Union Jack on it,” he said. “I remember he pulled it out and I was like, ‘Whoa…’. It’s pretty iconic now. Instantly recognisable. You stick a picture of a Union Jack Epiphone on any wall and say, ‘Name that guy’ and it’s ‘Noel Gallagher’ every time, isn’t it?”
There are so many stand-out moments from that monumental show including the live debut of their version of Slade’s ‘Cum On Feel The Noize’ which finished the gig in euphoric style along with a brass band—the perfect ending to a night where Oasis would cement their legacy for the history books after releasing just two albums.
In 2019, Noel reminisced fondly about that sacred set of homecoming shows: “I remember sitting behind the stage in the Platt Lane End in a box watching them dismantle the whole thing and ended up in just an empty stadium, I wasn’t kind of thinking about anything imparticular I was just taking the moment in, they were great amazing times, amazing gigs and that’ll never be repeated.”
One moment which epitomises the evening is their rendition of ‘Whatever’ during the middle of the set where the band slow things down and take full advantage of their 40-piece brass section to deliver a performance that will be sure to give you goosebumps. Liam Gallagher’s vocal performance is second to none as he delivers a surmon to the 40,000 fans in attendance who are drooling over the iconic frontman’s every last note.
Get your lighter out and enjoy ‘Whatever’ in all of it’s greatness.