The West Dumbartonshire town, Loch Lomond, is blessed with a meagre population of 6,000. It’s hardly a location that’s permanently engrained itself into rock ‘n’ roll history, but that all changed on August 3rd, 1996, when Oasis arrived in the Scottish highlands with 80,000 parka monkeys in tow.
That eternal summer of 1996 would be the pinnacle of Oasis, and it was somewhat of a slippery slope down ever since. There’s a reason why the documentary, Supersonic, ended with their performance at Knebworth. Things could only go downhill from there, yet, for the entirety of those scolding summer months, the Gallagher’s were relishing the views from the top of the world.
For the band, their entire existence had been building up to that show at Knebworth. However, before they could take to the stage, Oasis had other behemoth-sized concerts to get on with, starting with Manchester’s Maine Road in April and their two-night excursion to Scotland beginning on August 3rd.
Despite the hectic schedule, Oasis never made any bones about their plans to be the biggest band in the world, and by 1996, they were roosted comfortably on the mountain top with no other band even in their peripheral vision. Cool Britannia was in full flow, and there was nobody cooler than the Gallagher brothers. Together, they were still riding high from the release of 1995’s (What’s The Story) Morning Glory, and for a moment, it looked like they’d stay perched there forever.
Meanwhile, Oasis were joined on their journey up north by Cast, Ocean Colour Scene, Black Grape, among others, as the band brought a giant slab of Britpop to rural Scotland. Just a couple of years on from this sacred weekend in Lomond, the musical landscape of Britain would enter a state of purgatory as the genre began to itself from the inside.
However, for two days in 1996, nothing else mattered as 80,000 music lovers descended on Scotland in their droves and unified in their celebration of the last true seismic British subculture that infiltrated the mainstream.
With that in mind, it was fitting that Scotland also got its moment in the sun to celebrate Oasis on their victory lap, considering it was Glasgow’s iconic venue King Tut’s that handed the band their first big break.
Looking back at that summer and highlighting Knebworth as an example, Noel Gallagher reflected in conversation 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.”
Oasis were the band of their generation, and if that was ever in any doubt, this holy footage from their show at Balloch Country Park proves it. Music has the power to bring people together in wonderful ways, and for those two nights in Loch Lomond — 80,000 unified voices were singing from the Gallagher’s celestial hymn sheet.