As a typical 80s kid, I enjoyed the privilege of buying my first ‘records’ on vinyl and cassette. That’s for those of you too young or ignorant to remember the time before CDs. Somehow my first cassette and first vinyl were both Kylie Minogue. Well I fancied her big time when I was 8. My friend from Kilmaine Primary School Claire McKee fancied Jason Donovan and got into him. Claire and I enjoyed some times together at Cloughy caravan park (as 8 or 9 year olds) and also on the streets of Marlo and (yes..) Beverley Hills in Bangor, Northern Ireland. I always thought I would marry Claire. Stupid kids…we drifted apart…Anyway my love for music is the point of this post and OASIS!!! Yes I got big into Oasis in the mid 1990s the same sort of time that everyone did really. Of course at the time DVDs weren’t out, nobody had the internet and downloading music wasn’t even an option! What was around was Liam Gallagher’s “I don’t give a fuck” attitude and his brother’s amazing tunes.
I first heard them with the single ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’ on a compilation double cassette called Now 29. I liked the song but never really bought records at the time, being 14 didn’t help. Then came 1995’s ‘Some Might Say’ and the mega (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? album, I had to get into them even more and own every single record. I was a total Oasis freak! I still am. They helped me through the mid-90s.
I gradually built up all the back catalogue singles from Shakermaker up to Wonderwall, which was the first one I owned when it came out (my sister Cathy bought me it for Christmas 1995). I was hooked on them. I would just sit in my room listening to every song, whether a B-side or not, I wanted to know every lyric. I bought all the books, CDs, magazines they were in and recorded every TV appearance and Radio appearance I could. I remember watching Noel Gallagher on TFI Friday in 1996 and thinking how hilarious he was.
My good mate Colin Walker was also mega into them and he lived round the corner. One day Colin said that him and Keith Freel (who I played football with as well) had got tickets for the massive summer gig in Cork in the Republic of Ireland. I was well up for it and straight away asked him where to get a ticket. My Dad was working in Belfast that day and I phoned him and asked him to pop into Golden Discs and get me a ticket please before they sold out!! He did and that night came home from work with the ticket and that week’s NME which featured Oasis’s Noel Gallagher on the front. I was so happy, I was going to see the biggest band in the world. That was August 1996, in many ways looking back it was as big as Oasis ever got. The following year’s epic ‘Be Here Now’ album got mixed reviews (I fucking loved that album, and it’s still my personal favourite) and suddenly it wasn’t quite as cool to be an Oasis fan.
I also used to visit Hector’s House in Belfast (Ace record shop) and buy each and every Oasis CD I could get. I owned all the bootlegs, all the videos, all the interviews, all the imports. I also joined the official Oasis mailing list, which was amazing at the time. I bought a few t-shirts, a fleece, some programmes from gigs and got postcards for every new release (as well as stickers and the opportunity to buy limited edition albums). It was a totally moving time. I would say 1996 – 1997 was my favourite time to be an Oasis fan. Looking back they were everything. Cheeky, arrogant, successful, working class, talented, genius and they loved beer, music and football.
I don’t remember much of the first gig looking back now. I still have my programme, my ticket and a red Liam Gallagher T-shirt which I bought for 3 punts there. In those days there were no mobile phones and not many people even had cameras. I think Colin’s Dad took some photos of us on the way down to the gig. It meant an early start in Bangor. Colin’s Dad Leonard and his Mum Jean kindly offered to drive me, Colin and Keith all the way down to Cork. Otherwise we’d have been on about 4 different trains/buses. The traffic wasn’t too bad and on the way we stopped twice once for lunch and once for afternoon snack. On the way down either me or Keith (I can’t actually remember) had compiled loads of Oasis tapes to listen to, literally every Oasis song ever. We sang along, looking back now I was still a youngster really! We arrived in Irish Cork (a culture shock for a start for three very British-Protestant Northern Irish boys!) Pairc Ui Chaiomh around 4 pm. Though there was no politics and the religion was oasis for the night. The first band on was The Bootleg Beatles, followed by The Prodigy then Oasis to top the night off. It was totally mind blowing.
Some memories I do have are that Keith and Colin managed to get these tags for the pit area and for some reason I didn’t catch on that they were being handed out and missed my chance. It turned out the pit was full and the three of us stuck together for the whole gig. I didn’t drink any alcohol and to this day I’m not sure why none of us went to the beer tents taking it in turns to get people to serve us (as 16 year olds we weren’t really old looking, but odd that we were sober really). I hope Colin and Keith kept their tags for the pit as souvenirs. The set on the night was a predictable one at the time, but we were treated to two new songs ‘My Big Mouth’ and ‘It’s Getting Better Man.’ It was a totally fantastic gig and one that I will remember forever. It was also my first gig. There is a photo on the blog here of the set list! I never ever got any photos or recordings of that gig. I’d love some! Since then I’ve been to ten other Oasis gigs. Looking back I’m inclined to pick the first one as my favourite, but then again the gig just over a year later in Dublin was totally amazing. That’s when the heights of Be Here Now reached their peak and never returned. In those days an organised bus from Bangor’s main train station took us direct to the gig and back! At the second gig I was 17 and obviously much more into my beer, so was able to get pissed and sing along to the words “what’s the matter with you? sing me something new, don’t you know the cold and wind and rain don’t know they only seem to come and go away…” Fucking world class times, my Oasis back catalogue and memories are one of my treasures in life. Nobody can take it away from me. I was there then and I fucking enjoyed it.
This post is dedicated to Keith and Colin (and his Dad Leonard) who made it happen. Sadly life takes you on different tangents and we don’t really keep in touch. Some day we’ll meet again to re-live that gig. Then again “someday you will find me; caught beneath a landslide…” A 16 year old Ulsterman had not many dreams. One had been fulfilled. Here’s to Oasis, the Gallaghers for inspiring me! Buy those records if you don’t have them…
Oasis gigs I’ve attended:
August 1996 – Pairc Ui Chaiomh, Cork, Republic of Ireland
December 1997 – The Point Depot, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
July 2000 – Lansdowne Road, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
June 2002 – Odyssey Arena, Belfast, Northern Ireland
June 2002 – Odyssey Arena, Belfast, Northern Ireland
July 2002 – Finsbury Park, London, England
July 2002 – Wittness Festival, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
September 2002 – Prehen Playing Fields, Londonderry, Northern Ireland
March 2003 – The Point Depot, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
July 2005 – Rosebowl Southampton, England
July 2005 – Milton Keynes Bowl, England
Cigarettes & Alcohol
Some Might Say
Roll With It
Don’t Look Back In Anger
Morning Glory (USA only)
Champagne Supernova (USA only)
Setting Sun (Noel Gallagher sang on the Chemical Brothers Track)
There And Then EP
Nothing Lasts Forever (Liam Gallagher sang on the Echo and The Bunnymen Track)
D’You Know What I Mean?
Stand By Me
Love Me and Leave Me (Liam Gallagher wrote the Seahorses Track)
All Around The World
Don’t Go Away (USA only)
Carnation (Liam Gallagher and Friends)
Let Forever Be (Noel Gallagher sang on the Chemical Brothers Track)
Go Let It Out
Who Feels Love?
Sunday Morning Call
The Hindu Times
Stop Crying Your Heart Out
Little By Little/She Is Love
The Importance of Being Idle
Let There Be Love
Stop The Clocks EP
Lord Don’t Slow Me Down
(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?
Be Here Now
Standing On The Shoulder of Giants
Familiar To Millions
Don’t Believe The Truth
Stop The Clocks
Live By The Sea
There And Then
Familiar To Millions
Definitely Maybe Box Set
Don’t Believe The Truth Box Set
Stop The Clocks Box Set
Lord Don’t Slow Me Down Box Set
Favourite Song – Stay Young
Favourite Noel Gallagher lyric – “An extraordinary guy can never have an ordinary day”
Favourite Liam Gallagher lyric – “A man could never dream these kind of things”