In 1996, it was the summer of Oasis, and they were on top of the world. Not only did they come home to Manchester City’s Eastlands stadium, they performed two record-breaking nights at Knebworth, and they also left their mark on Scotland with a residency at Balloch Castle in Loch Lomond.
It was an unusual location for Oasis to pick the rural beauty spot hidden in West Dumbartonshire for their Scottish dates, which put the icing on their dream summer. The air was filled with infectious positive energy, Euro 96 fever had gripped the nation, Britpop was everywhere in the charts, and the future looked bright.
The good times didn’t last forever, and for Oasis, it captured them at the peak of the powers. Everything they touched turned to gold, and their B-sides were stronger than most Britpop bands’ highest-selling singles throughout this period.
Each night attracted 40,000 fans, and the two dates sold out instantly. Oasis had a rich history with Scotland. They’d never have been signed by Alan McGee’s Creation Records if it wasn’t for him stumbling upon them at Glasgow’s King Tuts. Without that meeting, their career would have looked considerably different.
Their concerts at Loch Lomond cemented their status as heroes in Scottish folklore and marked the end of a golden chapter. Looking back at that special summer with Hot Ones: “I do look back on it fondly. And funnily enough, when we did the Oasis documentary a few years ago there’s a still of the crowd we’re playing, and there’s 125,000 people, and the best thing about the photograph is not one single person has got a telephone. So everyone’s in the moment with the band.”
While fans can enjoy concerts any way they want, Gallagher’s comments show he has golden memories of those Oasis shows and looks back on those days with eternal fondness.
After Be Here Now, Oasis were no longer walking on water, and they gradually fell apart over the next decade before they officially decided to call it a day. However, these two concerts at Balloch Castle were the pinnacle of Oasis, and they had the crowd in the palm of their hands.
Tragically, the Loch Lomond shows were soured by the death of James Hunter. He was a trucking contractor who had driven his HGV to the site and was killed in a freak accident when a forklift truck reversed and pinned him against his lorry.
Former Oasis photographer Jill Furmanovsky told The Herald: “There was a tragic death backstage with a crew worker [James Hunter] and so there was this atmosphere that something terrible had happened.”
It marked a poignant moment in the set when Noel Gallagher addressed the situation and dedicated ‘Live Forever’ to Hunter. He told the crowd: “This one goes out to a young man who died here this weekend trying to put on a show for you lot, respect.”
Watch the heartbreaking footage below.