Glory Gigs: Oasis (2002)

Welcome to the first, and potentially last, of a new type of blog – GLORY GIGS! I’ve been to a shitload of gigs in my lifetime, so why not share some of the more incredible ones with you? Mainly because I can’t remember them, thanks to an even mix of ‘getting old’ and ‘taking drugs’. This first gig was before the ‘taking drugs’ days, it was also before the ‘lets get our digital cameras or phones out and film the whole fucking gig’ days too. No footage or photos for you this time. Yeah, I’m old, get over it.

We weren't worthy. Seriously, we weren't.

We weren’t worthy. Seriously, we weren’t.

When it comes to a list of the bands I’ve loved most in my life – that have shaped the way I value music, got me through ‘tough times’ and helped me discover my own identity, there are a clear 3 that stand out – Queen, Oasis and Rammstein.

Unfortunately for me, I’ll never have the pleasure of seeing Freddie Mercury live on stage. I’ve come to terms with that (god knows I’ve had long enough to do so) and I have no desire whatsoever to see Adam Lambert.

While Rammstein are edging towards 50 and still setting fire to stages all over the world, the other band on the list – Oasis – no longer exists.

If you don’t know who Oasis are, you’re an ignoramus (or you were born after Morning Glory and just don’t get it). They are, to me and many others, THE definitive rock band of our generation – so many hits, such longevity, such a pervasive influence on the lives of so many.

They broke up because of the volatile nature of the relationship between the Gallagher brothers, and they might never be back again – but I was lucky enough to see them live not once, not twice, but thrice! There was a particular time that made each of these instances special, but there was one in particular that has stuck with me.

The HSC, or Year 12 exams, are a pretty important time in the life of an Australian student. My HSC was in 2002, started October 21st with TWO EXAMS ON THE FIRST DAY! English and music! Was I studying hard on October 20th with less than 24 hours until these exams kicked off? Fuck no.

I wasn’t studying for English OR Music, I was off to Moore park in Sydney to SEE some English people PLAY music.

A week before, Oasis played the Enmore Theatre in Sydney. I went with my good friend Pete and it was spectacular, from Morning Glory to Wonderwall it was a (pretty much) non-stop cavalcade of hits that defined a generation – and it was FULL of British ex-pats. I would never see so many Manchester City jerseys again until 2008.

While the atmosphere and band were electric, Pete and I were only 17. We’d been to a multitude of metal gigs prior but had no idea what we were in for – possibly one of the biggest, craziest, most swaying mosh-pits we’ve ever been in. Luckily I had some height and still got to see most of the show – but it wasn’t so lucky for my 5 foot 4 compatriot.

The day before my exams, however, was the day of the Livid Festival, which the band was here to play. I attended with some (not particularly close) friends, which was probably a good thing because at about 330 I said ‘sayonara’ to them and went off to the vast area in front of the stage to see just how close I could get in the 4 and a half hours I had before Oasis took the stage.

I saw many good bands that day, and some truly shit ones as well. I saw Grinspoon at the height of Phil Jamieson’s abuse days, I saw Motor Ace back just after that one album when people thought they were good. I saw thousands of bats return to the park as the sun started to set over Sydney as Mercury Rev played something haunting, and I sat through the tedium of Powderfinger. Where was I at the end of it? Front and centre, right in front of the stage, on the fence, in heaven.

Despite having already seen them a week earlier, when the opening notes to intro track ‘Fuckin In The Bushes’ blasted through the speakers I lost my shit. Once again the mosh went off – and I received more boots to the back of the head than a guy being beat up by security in the Sydney CBD on the weekend.

I’ve still, to this day, really not seen very many shows from the front and the uninterrupted view made it a truly remarkable experience. Yes, my ribs hurt like shit about half an hour in and did so for days afterwards, but it was worth it.

This was my Mecca at the time. A girl asked me if I would swap with her and I politely told her to get fucked. Ahh, the days of chivalry.

I’d often listened to the recordings of live Oasis albums and shivered uncontrollably as the crowd sings the chorus of ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ by itself, but to experience it is another thing entirely. My favourite ever Oasis song, ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’ made the set, I developed a new and never-diluted love of the absolutely incredible track ‘Columbia’ (which was dedicated to everyone on coke), the opening of the show went off with the track ‘Hello’, an incredibly poignant version of ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’ (which somehow, when played straight after ‘Morning Glory’ complimented it perfectly) showed enchanting range.

There were loads and loads of the usual Gallagher banter that makes you forget they’re these Beatles-like Gods of modern rock and makes them look like a bunch of lads, but that just adds to the experience. While this was one of the first tours with Andy Bell and Gem Archer they both fit in wonderfully.

I’d never been to a gig by myself before this, and I wouldn’t be to one again for quite a while. Admittedly I went with people but I didn’t see them again for the rest of the day and made my way home alone, floating on cloud nine. I’m glad. While it would have been good to share the experience with someone there was something inherently wonderful about having it alone.

I saw Oasis again in 2005, and they were just as incredible – but there was something about the 2002 shows.Whether they were playing better or it was the fact that my hopes and dreams all came to fruition at that time – who knows.

I had been an Oasis fan since the mid-90’s, when I first used Christmas or Birthday money to buy my first ever CD and got my hands on (What’s the Story?) Morning Glory. I’d never had the experience of seeing my favourite band front and centre, especially at a festival, but a little bit of dedication, slipperiness and complete apathy about the results of my year 12 exam made the impossible possible.

In case you were wondering, my Music and English grades ended up being the best results in a HSC that I fucked up incredibly. If there’s anything to blame for the end result, it was selecting Physics, Chemistry and 3 unit maths – not the incredible experience I had the day before.

I might not know how to calculate vectors anymore, OR the atomic weight of ANYTHING on the periodic table, but I will never, ever forget that sunny day on the fence in Moore Park, where a bunch of arrogant drunks from Manchester gave me one of the best live music experiences I’ve ever had.

Oasis Setlist
Livid Festival, October 20, 2002, Sydney

(Fuckin In The Bushes)
Hello
The Hindu Times
Hung In A Bad Place
Go Let It Out
Columbia
Morning Glory
Stop Crying Your Heart Out
Little By Little
Cigarettes & Alcohol
Better Man
Born On A Different Cloud
Acquiesce

—————————-

Force of Nature
Don’t Look Back In Anger
My Generation (‘Who’ cover)

I’m pretty sure I saw them play better sets both at the Enmore and three years later – but as good as those shows were there was something about this particular experience that was far more memorable.

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