[An impassioned plea from contributor Gilles LeBlanc. – AC]
A missed opportunity, to say the least.
If you were one of the millions who watched One Love Manchester and are roughly the same age or younger than benevolent host Ariana Grande, it’s fair if you scratched your head over the nasally penultimate performer amidst millennial celebs Justin Bieber and Katy Perry. Thankfully, the pink background screens informed everyone it was Liam Gallagher.
The reaction would have been massively different had they read “Oasis”. It’s been a little more than nine years since one of the most famous bands to come out of Manchester last played together, leaving a void in rock that I dare say has yet to be filled. While there have been a smattering of Britpop revival jams in the interim with Beady Eye as well as Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, the music these squabbling siblings created has arguably been never been more top of mind. “Don’t Look Back in Anger” as one example became a rallying point for the tragedy that befell the brothers’ hometown on May 22nd. Give a listen to the accompanying greatest hits playlist for plenty more reasons why they’ll eternally be held in high regard.
Underneath all the outward posturing – and Lord knows there has been a lot since Oasis’ debut album Definitely Maybe came out in 1994 – is some pretty solid songwriting that has stood the test of time. You would think if there was anything that could prove the “blood is thicker than water” theory for good, it’d be a benefit close to their hearts. It’s hard to imagine two people hating each other so much to not let bygones be bygones for one night, but the Gallaghers are truly in a class by themselves. The back and forth barbs have been entertaining at times…if everyone involved was still in their twenties. It’s downright embarrassing now, especially considering these are supposed to be grown-ass men, one of whom just turned fifty (and brazenly didn’t invite the other to his Narcos-themed party).
I’ve never made any bones about growing up an Oasis fan in the 1990s. The perpetually grim Gallaghers seemed to strike that perfect balance between grunge acts too rough-around-the-edges to legitimately break out, but not overly manufactured like the boy bands that dominated pop. They were “indie” through their association with Creation Records, before the word became an appropriated music genre.
They’ve had more than enough time to mature, but both seem content to childishly regress and go backwards, essentially thumbing their noses at what One Love Manchester was trying to accomplish. Instead of carving a new collective legacy, Liam treated the biggest event he’s been involved in this side of Knebworth like a promo gig on Top of the Pops or something. By singing with Coldplay’s Chris Martin rather than Noel, the only thing the littler Gallagher did is place himself only slightly higher than the $#@%ing Chainsmokers in the eyes of finicky fans.
In this chaotic world we currently find ourselves in, Oasis may have blown their chance to be the rock ’n’ roll stars we need, right now. Maybe all they’ll ever be is an out of reach mirage in the desert…