Oasis Knebworth 1996
It’s the summer of 1996. A new political era was signifying change, Britpop was dominating the soundwaves, and Oasis were set to play Knebworth. Over the course of two nights, the field in Hertfordshire would see a record-breaking 250,000 fans flock to see the band who represented an entire generation. Oasis: Knebworth 1996 (directed by Jake Scott) tells the story of this landmark music event as it recounts the concert using never-before-seen footage alongside interviews from attendees, band members and concert promoters.
There’s a universal romanticism in seeing thousands of music lovers united in song as the rain relentlessly pours down. Whether it’s to Don’t Look Back In Anger, Champagne Supernova, or any of Oasis’s numerous chart-toppers, Knebworth captures the zeitgeist of that alcohol and rock’n’roll-fuelled weekend over 25 years ago. The fans’ anecdotes of how they managed to acquire their tickets, traveling to the event, and their interactions with concertgoers and the band itself emphasise the personal connection between music and listener, and, to a lesser extent, the reasons that made the working-class Manchester band the voice of a generation.
The production aims to transport viewers to this rain-drenched weekend to get a taste of the carefree energy that swept the nation. And, for the most part, it succeeds. Knebworth is a joyous slice of rock history that radiates and pulsates with the attitude and style that gave Oasis their name.
At almost two hours long, however, the film begins to overstay its welcome. Too often, the project will slip into a recording of the concert, rather than a documentary about it. Sitting through large chunks of the setlist becomes less and less interesting when there’s not much to be said about what’s on screen. And when the first show comes to an end, there’s another one to sit though minutes later.
For Oasis fans, Knebworth 1996 is set to be a celebration of the band at the height of its success. But for those less inclined to hear the Gallaghers performing for the best part of two hours, this will be a long one to sit through.
Oasis Knebworth 1996 is released in select cinemas on 23rd September 2021.
Watch the trailer for Oasis Knebworth 1996 here: