Oasis Week: Cigarettes & Soundchecks

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Huyton-born journalist Gareth Roberts stalks the Gallagher brothers around his Sheffield University campus back in 1994.


It’s not like I was spurred on by my mates or anything, far from it.
In fact, after I’d heard first single Supersonic pre-release via Radio One and asked my mates if they fancied checking out Oasis at the small but perfectly formed Lomax in Liverpool, the reaction was typically Scouse. ‘Fuck off, they’re Mancs aren’t they?‘ came the reply, accompanied by a dimissive scowl.
So that was that – I didn’t go to the gig on April 13, 1994, two days after the release of Supersonic. It was, of course, brilliant, so I was told – many, many times.
Fast forward eight months and Oasis-fever had taken hold. A bunch of footie-loving scruffs with great tunes and Nothern swagger had made their mark.
And now, I WAS going to see them live. A full-time student in Sheffield by now, the ticket had been purchased on the morning they went on sale, just to be sure. And here it was, the big day, December 1, 1994 – Oasis, live at the Octagon, University of Sheffield.
I was learning my trade as a journalism student and I was also a cheeky bastard. Some might say I still am…and I’m still a cheeky bastard too (bum-bum-bish).
Anyhoo, over an afternoon pint – well, about five past 12, the plan was hatched – I was going to meet the Gallagher brothers. I was going to have a chat, check out if they were as hard as they made out they were and…well, wasn’t sure about the and, just see what happens.
So, a few more Student Union pints later, off I went to carry out stage one of the blag. Armed with my student Press card and accompanied by fellow Oasis devotee, Welsh Rob, I approached the Octagon security bloke, who, to be fair, wasn’t the brightest.
I’m interviewing Oasis‘, I said, flashing my Press card. ‘And he’s my photographer.’
And off we marched to the inner-sanctum of this wanna-be leisure centre. Now that, I thought, was fuckin’ easy. Too easy. So it proved. Bamber Gascgoine was onto it.
Er, where’s his cameras?‘ barked the tubby guard. ‘We’re just checking the lighting first,’ I fired back and carried on walking.
But University Challenged was on a roll now. ‘Who’s it for? I haven’t been told about this.’
It was time to bail. Back in the bar, we wondered how else we could meet the Mancs. And in the end it was given up as a bad job. Later that afternoon, still in the bar, we decided a change of scenery was in order.
So, out we strolled and we headed for a pub the other side of the University. As we walked a shitty mini-bus passed by. Not the kind of vehicle that would house a bunch of pretentious, big headed rock ‘n’ rollers. Maybe not. Oasis were in it though. The Manc twang cut through the Yorkshire air as they disembarked and then there it was – the much mocked Liam swagger. It was them alright.
Alright la‘, I managed.
Alright lads, you coming the gig tonight?‘ grinned Liam. A surly – and much smaller than expected Noel – couldn’t even manage a nod of acknowedgement.
Yeah we’re going‘, I said. ‘You’re a fucking Scouser,’ laughed Liam. ‘I like Scousers. D’yer wanna watch us soundcheck?
Is right, I thought. And so we watched. Well, we watched them bicker, set up, laugh, smoke and drink. But not a note was played. And just as they plugged in, who arrived?
Yep – Bamber.
You‘, he said. ‘I checked, there are no interviews here with Oasis you cheeky bastard.’ Erm….
Out!‘ he added. I looked at Liam and he raised a can at me – ‘See you tonight lads!
After soft soaping Bamber for a bit, we managed to hang around long enough to see them perform Fade Away as a sound check. Decent.
Then out burst Noel. ‘Sign this mate,’ said a girl, thrusting a poster from Select at him which pictured Liam’s face.
I’m not signing a picture of that cunt‘, he growled. He turned to us. ‘Well hurry up then, I’ve got to get to the fuckin hotel.’
I hadn’t actually thought about an autograph. Er…I handed him my ciggies, Embassy No.1. He scrawled his name and he was off.
I wasn’t overly impressed by that to be fair. But when the lads took to the stage that night, I was. They were good, very good. Amazing in fact. And, Glastonbury aside, they’ve never let me down since in terms of live performances.
OK, they’ve had a dodgy record or two. But in 14 years, that’s not bad.
To be honest, I don’t get the criticisms. They’re good, honest Northern lads. They like a laugh, a scrap, a bevvy and the match. And while they may not be the most orginal band ever, they knock out a good tune.
Liam alone deserves a knighthood just for giving his walk and his singing style to the world and giving lads like me an easy impression to do after one too many lagers.
So that’s me: Oasis, I salute you.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, yeah, I’ve still got the ciggy packet!

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