Hey, Uncle Kendall, what was Britpop like? It was magical, bands were seemingly dropping out of the sky, often landing in Camden, where you would find this South West kid every few months, sitting in the Good Mixer, suited and booted and talking to Blur, Menswe@r, Steve Lamacq, Suggs etc etc, it really was a great time to be a pop fan, or guitar music fan if you don’t like the P word. But Oasis and Blur were fighting for number one, and so Pop is the correct word, being of course, short for Popular.
Yes, whilst London N1 was the epicentre of the scene, up in Manchester, two brothers put down their Beatles records, picked up a guitar and a tambourine and hey presto, megastardom. I remember getting my Knebworth ticket and coach package and then a while later learning that Manic Street Preachers were added to the bill and suddenly it was a Kendallrock double header. If you’re a youngster asking to see my phone photos from the day, sorry, we had no phones, look at the advert above, no Net addresses whatsoever. You could pay by cheque! It feels almost Dickensian, but now we have a movie to remind us of the excitement of the day.
The Knebworth film is interesting, not only for the music but also for the look at the effect on culture as a whole of this popular music, waiting outside the music shop for the doors to open to get a single, bands being important enough to be featured on the mainstream news, your gran knowing that band you are going to see, one in six people trying to get tickets. Astounding. I sometimes forget all of this as I rarely listen to Oasis in 2021, sure I might rock out to The Masterplan every once in a while, because of course their B-sides album is their best record, but I often forget what an effect they had on me. Of course with a band this straightforward, you don’t get the insights and subtleties that you might get from say a Pulp or Manics film, but lest we forget that Blur’s crowning cinematic moment is a movie that sees them basically being drunk in every service station in Britain. Their fans don’t seem to be wanting to explain the influences and magic of following the band, it is more like MUSIC! LIVE! LISTEN! Sometimes a band exists ‘just for the music, maaaan’, not in a pretentious way, just Noel picking up a guitar and coming up with Round Our Way or Whatever or, yes, Wonderwall.
Seeing ‘us’ all run into the venue is exciting, I’m not having a ‘wish I was there’ moment, I actually was, so perhaps that makes it play better for me. It is also incredible just seeing the size of the crowd. And when the songs kick in and the sun goes down, there are incredible scene after incredible scenes. Now I remember why this was something I couldn’t miss and so glad I didn’t.
Now, the version I own is the 2CD and DVD version, so you get the official movie Knebworth as described above as well as a double disc collection of the songs. Oh, this is grand : Acquiesce, Round Our Way, Hello, The Masterplan. Amazing. It is also interesting to hear ‘forgotten’ tracks such as My Big Mouth and It’s Getting Better (Man!!) performed back to back.
It’s a great live album of a band at the height of its powers and an interesting film to show the kids who live through their phones, god I sound like an ADULT.
(note : There is also a Blu version which features the film as well as both nights shows in full)