Remembering when Oasis and Liam Gallagher rocked Edinburgh with one of the "finest gigs of the year" at Murrayfield in 2000
Around this exact time 22 years ago, Oasis performed in front of a sold-out crowd of 56,000 as the Gallagher brothers took the roof off Murrayfield.
Former Oasis front-man Liam Gallagher has never been one to not speak his mind, so when he said “Scotland’s the f***ing b*****ks and so are the people” while on stage in 2019, you knew he meant it.
“You’ve always been very kind to us since we started out with Oasis. It reminds me when I get famous I need to buy a little gaff up here” he added with a grin.
Despite being understandably aligned with their hometown of Manchester, the British music legend has always held a soft spot for Scotland ever since Oasis exploded onto the scene with their historic debut album Definitely Maybe in 1994.
While his brother Noel may have once branded Scotland as “a third world country”, Liam evidently holds far more affection for a country he had performed in numerous times over the years.
And perhaps Liam’s love of Scotland comes from a the countless electric atmospheres he played in front of over the course of his 30 year career – not least Oasis’ triumphant headline set at a sold out Murrayfield in Edinburgh at the turn of the century.
The hierarchy of British music
It feels like only yesterday, but around exactly this time, Oasis – who were undeniably Britain’s biggest rock band as we entered the new Millenium – were blasting out the instantly recognisable opening chords to singalong hit ‘Go Let It Out’ 22 years ago.
The Gallagher brothers had been absent from the road for almost two and a half years.
Both ‘Definitely Maybe’ and 1997’s follow-up ‘What’s The Story (Morning Glory)’ had seen the band swagger into the hierarchy of British music, but the now widely publicised disagreements between Liam and Noel had seen the band’s tour schedule shudder to a halt.
Third album, 1997’s ‘Be Here Now’, had been given mixed reviews, while one NME reviewer claimed it to be "one of the daftest records ever made.”
However, a loyal fan-base and release of the highly anticipated ‘Standing On The Shoulders of Giants’ in 1999 meant Oasis-mania had been given the shot in the arm it perhaps needed.
In response, the band went off on a gruelling 133 show tour, which would kick-off at Philadelphia’s First Union Center in December ‘99. The tour would stretch almost a year, before ending in Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom, and included a mid-tour stop at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield on July 29, 2000.
A scramble for tickets would ensue, as Oasis fans eyed up the chance clink cans of Tennent’s on the train and drink to the revival of one of Britain’s most important bands of all time, with support from the Happy Monday’s and The Doves.
"That we made a record anyway is quite staggering."
However, as triumphant a return it would seem, all was definitely not well without the band’s camp.
Frontman Liam remembered it as a time when he thought the gig was truly up for the band: “There were years of a real total lack of inspiration," he told BBC 6 Music.
"Bonehead and Guigsy were thinking about leaving - although we didn't know it at the time. The fact that we were all getting divorced, that we made a record anyway is quite staggering."
Furthermore, after a disagreement within the band, Noel had left the tour in May and quit overseas touring all-together with Oasis. In fact, just days before the gig, the ‘Wonderwall’ hit makers had stormed off stage at Paleo Festival in Switzerland after bottles were launched from the crowd.
Thankfully for Scottish fans though, Noel would agree to return for shows within the United Kingdom and Ireland, and Oasis would take to the stage in Edinburgh to rapturous applause.
With rumours the brothers had arrived in Scotland on separate flights and in separate hotels, concert promoters had prayed the split would not wreck the Murrayfield gig.
And while the chemistry off stage may have been littered with problems, it would not stop the Manchester band from a triumphant performance in Edinburgh’s summer sun.
Their first stadium gig in Scotland for three years and their biggest Scottish concert since playing to 80,000 fans over two days in Loch Lomond saw the band open with energetic hits ‘Go Let It Out’, ‘Who Feels Love?’ and ‘Supersonic’ as the band showed no signs of rustiness.
Launching into a devastating trifecta of some of their biggest and best live songs – ‘Roll with It’, ‘Stand by Me’ and ‘Wonderwall’ – the band had the audience eating out of the palm of their hand by the time they launched into all-time classics ‘Cigarettes & Alcohol’, ‘Live Forever’ and ‘Champagne Supernova’.
The connection between the band, the crowd and the music remained in-intact that night
All the off stage issues were forgotten about, and the circus that surrounded the feuding brothers lost in the hum of the Scottish air.
The weekend had begun in the Capital, and it was ignited by a pair of working class rock stars who understood exactly what the weekend meant to the many that sang along with every word in the crowd.
And while Oasis’ problems resumed the minute they left the stage, and in some ways never really went away, the connection between the band, the crowd and the music remained intact that night, and lingered long in the memory of the ones who were there.
And maybe – in-fact definitely – that is where the lure and attraction of Oasis still lingers, over a decade after their split.