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I didn't know it at the time, but Noel Gallagher studied U2 to make Oasis the world's greatest live band.
Oasis are on the fourth leg of their world tour this week and we should feel blessed. Noel and Liam are a notorious live act. Noel: stalwart, bashing out classic chords like hits of lightning. Liam: one of the best vocalists since Elvis, sending out dead-eyed Botticelli stares into the audience, hunched over a microphone, swaggering and challenging crowds of up to 100,000 to a fight before leading into surreal, Breton-inspired stage banter.
Their August tour sold out in minutes, with thousands of people queueing for the possibility of spare tickets. And why? Because Oasis are the best rock'n'roll band in the world and they are an unstoppable live act. And so to celebrate, here are my top five live Oasis moments:
1) Earls Court, London, 1995 I witnessed this performance along with 20,000 other die-hard fans. Have they bettered this show? No. Earls Court was genius because Oasis were doing stadium performances on pure instinct. Earls Court was just after the release of Morning Glory. It was pure storming hedonism and it was one of the few moments where they truly captured the pop culture zeitgeist.
2) Maine Road, Manchester, 1996 This was rock as religious spectacle. Oasis don't necessarily have fans, they have disciples who chant their love for the band. There is a reason why their live DVD, There And Then, included the Maine Road and Earls Court performances, and that's because those shows captured a live rock'n'roll experience as essential as Cheap Trick's Live at Budokan and Daft Punk's Alive.
3) Loch Lomond, Scotland, 1996 Oasis played in front of 40,000 fans while a photographer caught the iconoclastic moment with Noel standing behind a Jagger-like Liam. An amazing shot! Noel's studies of U2's Rattle and Hum paid off. Fun fact: Oasis (bar Liam) loved U2 and if I had known this in 1994 I would never have signed them. At the time, Bobby Gillespie and myself were obsessed with U2 being the enemies of rock'n'roll due to the commercial gloss of Bono and co. Of course, I get U2 now and they always got Creation Records – Achtung Baby being 50% Primals, 25% the Jesus and Mary Chain and 25% My Bloody Valentine.
4) Aberdeen, Scotland, 1997 I'll admit the Be Here Now tour was when Oasis lost their rock'n'roll mojo. Not every date on this tour was a highlight, but Oasis were on fire in Aberdeen. It was completely mental, unrestrained, rebellious rock'n'roll. Oasis became a gargantuan juggernaut of electric feedback and primal beats.
5) The Word, London, 1994 I was languishing in drug rehab and watching Oasis on The Word playing Supersonic. I thought '"What have I unearthed?" and then "Yes, this is going to be massive". And guess what? They are.
Nearly 15 years on, I have fashion hipsters telling me about the latest Shoreditch sensation, while simultaneously putting down Oasis. Granted, east London bands talk a good album, but Oasis have never stopped making great albums. Let's be honest, Oasis are our Stones, our Beatles and – yes – our U2. Buying an Oasis record is the closest you will get to reliving those classic bands, so you might as well embrace it.