Liam Misses The Point: Oasis live in Dublin, December 1997

Liam Misses The Point: Oasis live in Dublin, December 1997

When I look back now, its pretty incredible. I saw Oasis twice at their peak, and in all honesty the only way was down for my favourite band. I had been to Cork the previous year to watch Oasis in August 1996. This particular gig crept up really really quickly when I was 17, the build up was phenomenal, the trip was amazing, the drinking one of the best, and the memories unspoiled by time. It was probably the best time to ever see Oasis, and the last time I saw the band with Bonehead, Guigs and Alan White all on stage together. You have to envisage the era and the time and what was happening in the world to realise how and why this gig meant so much. 1997 was a good year for new things. We had New Labour, Tony Blair became our Prime Minister, we had the Drumcree protests in Portadown, where Orangemen (for the last time?) got to march down the Garvaghy Road. We had Princess Diana dying, Mother Theresa kicked the bucket too, and Michael Hutchence, who was the lead singer of INXS (and also raunchified Kylie Minogue) killed himself. U2 were back as a major force, Northern Ireland was about to change forever. There were mobile phones and internet starting to appear in society. Bombs in Belfast were pretty non-existent. It was a crazy crazy time…

In my personal life, I had just came back from a 3 week family holiday to Florida, USA (all paid for by parents), I had been kicked out of a shit school and I had started learning media at Belvoir Tech. I spent 5 days a week in college at Belfast. I went to Glentoran matches, I went to Northern Ireland matches, the weekend before Oasis I even went to Scotland for a Rangers match. I still couldn’t legally drink alcohol, I was still 17. But life was pretty damn good. I also enjoyed my first night club kiss around this time, and fancied the pants off a tech mate, Vicky Everitt. She was bloody gorgeous so she was, but she had a boyfriend. I was so very shy in late 1997, but I wanted to shag that Vicky Everitt. I never seen her, or her beautiful blond hair and blue eyes again. I think December 1997, was the last time. She didn’t join me, Jon Kerr and Tommy Cunningham for a drink that day. Anyhow, on a Saturday in September 1997 I joined a queue at 4 am at More Than Music in the Flagship Centre in Bangor for Oasis tickets. In the queue already were my old school mates Tompo, Colin and Keith. Colin and Keith went to the first Oasis gig with me. This time I would go with Begzi and someone else, as I had enough money for 3 tickets. In the queue some guys played guitar and I was about 70th in the queue. The guy from MTM came round and gave us all a number around 7 am, which showed our place in the queue. I was happy with that procedure. First come, first served is always fair. I met Andy Corbett in the queue. I had sat beside Andy quite a few times at school and we both liked the same music.

The problem was I wanted 3 tickets and there was a limit of 2 per person, so luckily Andy and his mate only needed 3 tickets and were further ahead in the queue so they got me the extra one. There was only about 100 tickets available for each night of the concerts that December at Dublin’s Point Theatre. In them days Oasis didn’t play gigs in Northern Ireland, so we had to travel down south to see them. The two dates were a Friday and Thursday night in early December. I didn’t have a preference as to which night I went to, yet for some reason the first 40 odd people in the queue all chose the Friday night, presumably cos it meant less time of work and would have worked out better for Ulster travellers to Dublin. When it got to Andy in the queue he shouted back if a standing ticket for the Thursday was OK, and it was. Then when it got to me, there were only seated tickets left for the Thursday night. Obviously straight away I bought two, meaning I had the 3 tickets I wanted, all on the same night, but one standing (the one I would take) and two seated. In those days of course there was no texting, mobile phones, ebay or internet or fans forum, so swapping the tickets never occured to me. I just wanted to get two mates to go down there with me to Dublin, and would happily have stayed with Andy and his mates for the gig, and let my other two mates sit together. It didnt matter. I was going to see Oasis AGAIN!!! And back in 1997 when they were at their peak. The day I got those tickets is still one of the happiest of my life.

At Belvoir Tech in Belfast there weren’t many Oasis fans, but I managed to get Jon Kerr and Keith Thompson into them a wee bit, still nobody really fancied going down to Dublin for the gig. It was my mate Begzi who said yes immediately, so then there was me and him. I’m not sure why cousin Gary wasn’t the third person – he really should have been, perhaps he knows why? Also my mate Mike McClelland had initially held an interest, but his parents were quite strict and didn’t want him (then 16) missing school and getting pished up in Dublin, so that left just me and Begzi. The tickets weren’t that dear and back then going to see Oasis wasn’t particularly ever about the price, so we decided that the two of us would just go and try to sell the extra ticket in the meantime, or swap it for a standing one and sell the other one. We had about 2 months or so.

In the intervening months, Oasis had released “Stand By Me” which made it to number 2 in the charts (baten only by Elton John’s tribute to Princess Diana) and the novelty of the highly acclaimed and publicised “Be Here Now” album was at a sky high peak. Certainly it was hard to get an Oasis ticket, everyone in the UK wanted one, and I even had a spare ticket!! Well the weeks leading up to the gig were brilliant. I had started going properly to nightclubs with some fake identification and doing the pubs in Belfast. I had also started playing football again (in what was actually my last full season, looking back) and scored our first goal in a fantastic 2-1 win over 2nd Belfast at the Bangor Valentine’s pitches. I was also being driven all over Belfast with politican Jack Beattie, attending conferences and doing research as part of my journalism course. Looking back that course was much better than I thought, and as hard as a degree. I was fairly content with life at the time, and the weekend before the Dublin trip, I had gone to Scotland with the BB and watched Rangers beat Kilmarnock 3-1. Begzi and I got in touxh with More Than Music (MTM) and also booked ourselves on the return bus trip from Bangor to Dublin for the Oasis gig. The bus would leave Bangor around lunchtime on the gig day, and bring us back straight after the gig. I dont have a ticket for that bus, and estimate the cost to have been around £14 return. The gig tickets were around £24 including the booking fee, so less than £40 without spending money in 1997 to see Oasis was pretty damn good!

The morning of the gig came by, and it was still just me and Begzi. We were both students at the time and had booked the Thursday and Friday off tech (Belvoir Tech for me) and school (Sullivan Upper School for Begzi). Begzi was a good mate of mine from 1997 – 2003. His real name is Michael Beggs and I knew him through Michael McClelland. WE met very early in Bangor town that day. We had our breakfast at Dunkin Donuts and then decided on some food, drink and stuff for the bus on the way down. Remember NO iPods, no mobile phones, no internet. I was tempted to bring my walkman and a few spare cassettes but it was just too bulky. After tea and donuts for breakfast, we headed to the Co-op. Begzi and I were both 17, I was a few months older, but Begzi looked older, so he got the carryout as he was unlikely to be asked for ID. I had looks of a boy, him and his stubble saw him pass for early 20s. We got a few beers each in the Co-op, as well as some Coke, chocolate bars and Pringles. Spontaneuosly we also called into Boots and bought a disposable camera. That was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life, as now looking back I have some photos of the day out, even if none are from the bar, pre gig, or any decent ones of Oasis. I still have them. The disposable camera was £5.99 in Boots and had a flash.

After buying the camera, Begzi and I took a few random shots by Bangor seafront, one of which came out and is on here. We then made it onto the bus near the peeler the station. I remember the bit where the buses once read “BELFAST” or “KILCOOLEY”, this time it read “OASIS”. Suddenly in a 1997 Northern Ireland there was no religion and we all boarded the bus. I really must have been quiet and shy back then, as I havent kept touch with anyone on that bus, even though we chatted sang songs together, picked up more passengers in Belfast and stopped for a pint break once we got over the border into the Republic of Ireland. It was freedom and Begzi was a bit of a genius. We stopped in a hotel near Dundalk, which had a quiet bar until we all walked in with our Oasis t-shirts on. “Holy Fuck!” shouted the bar man. I hid at the back, near a ledge in that bar as I had a fake ID, but didnt look that old, so I let Begzi buy the drink. At the time Begzi’s genius meant he had a fake ID to say he was 18, and just in case bars were strict, he also had a fake ID to say he was 21!! In this particular hotel bar, we had time for a quick one, I think mine was a Harp, and he used his 18 ID. I really enjoyed that there pint with Begzi. I cant think of a time in my life where I was having more fun, in all honesty. In that hotel bar, I also found “The Irish Independent” newspaper from that morning. Oasis had also played at the Dublin Point Depot the night before and there were photos and a full gig review in there. I stole the newspaper and to this day have kept the cut out for my memory.

On the bus I passed the newspaper around for a few people to read and we were all buzzing off it. Begzi and I only had a few beers in tins and we cranked them open and drank them on the way to Dublin. Soon the sky was getting dark, I had a spare Oasis ticket and we were outside the Point Depot in Dublin! I quickly bought two Oasis programmes, one for me and one for Cousin Gary. Then I found a tout selling standing tickets. Begzi and I both wanted to stand and yet we had one standing and two seated tickets. So either we took the two seats and sold the standing ticket (and wouldn’t have enjoyed the concert as much) or we negotiated trade to get an extra standing ticket. I think it was almost a straight swop – 2 seated tickets and 15 punts for one standing ticket. Either way we were happy with it. remember this was before the Republic of Ireland became dear, it was punts not Euros and Guinness would have been about 2.1 punts a pint at the time.

Once inside the venue, we saw signs up saying that you had to be over 21 to get served drink. So to chance it Begzi joined one queue and used his 18 ID, where they said “no, its over 21s”. He was hoping they wouldn’t ask and didnt want to risk his over 21 ID being taken off him at the start you see. Then he joined the second queue and used his over 21 ID to perfection getting us a pint each! We had another one and then headed in to see Travis, the support band. I actually really enjoyed Travis that night, they were very rocky back then, and sadly they mellowed and their later albums weren’t as good. However that first album “Good Feeling” is still a classic. Me and Begzi made it to the front of our section, just behind the pit, where there were barriers. The photos will never do our view justice, we had a great view and could clearly see the stage. Travis belted out “Under 16 Girls”, the very anthemic “Happy”, which went down a treat! “Im so happy cos youre so happy.” They also played the meaningful “tied to the 90s”, looking back we were tied to that era. Travis ended the slot in true fashion, and rather than lose our position for a beer, we stayed put until Oasis were due to come on. There had been a rumour all day that Liam Gallagher the lead singer had a sore throat and wouldn’t perform on the night. Of course I didnt believe that for a second, but low and behold once inside the venue, the rumour became stronger and then it was announced. Liam Gallagher wouldn’t be on stage, Noel Gallagher was running the show!

Now at the time I remember some fans took the huff and got really pissed off, and I remember thinking “why the fuck are you pissed off?”. I knew there were a lot of Oasis fans out there who didnt have a ticket and would gladly have took their tickets. In mine and Begzi’s world we thought “Brilliant! A chance to see an Oasis gig with a difference – a rare set of Noel singing all the songs!” I was very excited and suddenly the set list was changed to accomodate Noel Gallagher’s singing. Songs like “Supersonic” and “Morning Glory” were omitted from the set, as these are fast rocky songs sung by Liam. To our delight, Oasis revamped the setlist, and even included a mammoth four song acoustic set as well as playing 6 tracks from the latest “Be Here Now” album, which I was very happy about. Oasis came on stage, minus Liam Gallagher and the place was buzzing. As a 17 year old, its hard to dream up a night better than this.

The rocky “Be Here Now” with its awe inspiring guitar riff and banging drums kick started the set, “make no sweat of the hole that you’re digging” yelled Noel Gallagher into the Dublin audience. I couldn’t help notice his voice tailoring off a bit towards the end of this song, as Liam is better at singing it, the line “kickin up a storm from the day that I was born” is still one of my favourites, but is much better sung by Liam than Noel. Anyway straight after that we were into the youthful “Stay Young”, a great message to the youth in Ireland that day, Northern or Southern. Former number 1 single followed, “Some Might Say” was delivered superbly as me and Begzi jumped aimlessly up and down, myself hinting the irony of the line “I’ve been standing at the station in need of education in the rain,” I had been chucked out of a school I hated that year and was fairly happy with my life. Education? Who fucking needs it…we make our own intelligence in this world. Soon we had sailed in dream like fashion into the mystical “Magic Pie.” As the opening guitar chimes faded away for Noel to sing “an extraordinary guy can never have an ordinary day” it caught me to think, I’m an ordinary guy having an extraordinary day. I have seen Oasis 12 times live and this was the only time they have played “Magic Pie.” Admittedly the lyrics are a bit naff, but the length of the song, the Beatles – esque guitar riffs and the dreary dreamy vocal make it a stand out lost classic. “I’ll have my say; my star will shine” Noel Gallagher – spot on, as usual…

Earlier than usual we were then treated to the rapturous “Sally Can Wait” or “Don’t Look Back In Anger” as its properly known. Towards this point, Begzi and I moved nearer the back after the big rush and squash near the start. It was more relaxed at the back, but just in time for the acoustic set, which was a real rarity. This was because they played “D’You Know What I Mean?” (massive hit summer 1997 single) and the melancholy “Don’t Go Away”, but before all that, get with the incredible “Stand By Me”, in full Noel Gallagher acoustic mode! “Yeah nobody know a hose the way its gonna be yeah a heah, maybe I can see yeah a heah, don’t you know the cold and wind and rain don’t know…” A moment of true genius. I sang every word of Stand by Me, before the acoustic trio of “D’You Know What I Mean?”, “Whatever” and “Don’t Go Away” left Dublin in awe of this band at its peak. Everybody had forgotten the fact that Liam hadn’t turned up, Noel led from the front and gave Oasis fans a real memory. The acoustic set ended and we were heading to the Bahamas…

…or it felt like it, as the opening slide guitar of “Fade In/Out” sent us to the island of Mustique, where Noel Gallagher and actor J,o,h,n,n,y, Depp recorded the original version of the screamy ballad. “Today is just a daydream” echoed around the Point Theatre. You’d better not believe it was a daydream, or you’d have missed it. After this came the obvious and popular “Cigarettes and Alcohol”, “Live Forever” and “Wonderwall.” It was rare to hear “Cigarettes and Alcohol” sung by Noel, this hasn’t happenned a lot in Oasis history. To close the set and rousing, tiresome and bouncy Acquiesce left us gasping for more, but that was it – that was the encore. This was Noel Gallagher’s night. I cannot remember if Begzi and I got a beer after the show, or headed straight for the bus. At any rate we were home in Bangor soon enough and up early the next day, we mat up again and went into Belfast for the day. We got our photos developed, ventured into HMV and Matchetts Music shops and relived the moments, pretending we were rock stars. That morning my mates Colin, Keith and Tompo were off to the third and final night of Oasis at the Point and I gave Colin a very quick phone call (landline obviously) to let him know that Noel did the lead vocals, as Liam didn’t show up, and quickly told him the set list and to fucking enjoy it. I think he also took his girlfriend Donna to the gig, he’s now married to her.

Later on, I wrote a full page report for the fake “Belvoir Telegraph” as part of my media studies course. I passed with flying colours and have included what remains of that report on here. Nice times, nice fucking dreams, but all real. I was there then, I saw Oasis in Dublin in 1997 and I fucking enjoyed it. D’you know what I mean??

Who went – Jonny Blair, Michael Beggs (Begzi) and a good few thousand others.

Where was it – The Point Theatre, by the Liffey, Dublin.

When was it – Thursday 4th December 1997.

Pubs visited – Hotel Bar near Dundalk, Drogheda and The Over 21s bar at The Point Depot.

Transport Used – Return Bus from Bangor Bus Station to The Point.

Strange Currencies – Pounds and Punts.

Set List –

Be Here Now
Stay Young
Some Might Say
Roll With It
Magic Pie
Don’t Look Back In Anger

Acoustic Set:
Stand By Me
D’You Know What I Mean?
Don’t Go Away

Fade In/Out
Cigarettes & Alcohol
Live Forever


VIDEO FROM THE FRIDAY NIGHT (THE NIGHT AFTER) OF “THE GIRL IN THE DIRTY SHIRT” (couldn’t find any videos of the night I went)

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