Wednesday, December 1, 2021

‘Oasis Knebworth 1996’ Review: A Must-See Nostalgic Experience

The highly anticipated Oasis Knebworth 1996 is now officially available on Paramount+. Directed by Grammy Award winner Jake Scott, this documentary celebrates one of the most iconic live concerts to take place in the last 25 years, featuring extensive and never-before-seen archival concert and backstage footage, plus interviews with the band and event organizers.

Taking place over the course of two record-breaking nights on August 10 and 11 in 1996, over a quarter of a million music fans from all over the world converged on Knebworth Park, Hertfordshire in England to watch these legendary Oasis shows, which broke every U.K. box office record when they sold out in less than 24 hours.

This concert film serves not only as a snapshot of an unforgettable moment in time, but also as a love letter to the fans that were a part of it. There’s a reverent yet giddy vibe throughout that conveys how much of a once in a lifetime experience this really was.

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The documentary as a whole is comprised of a patchwork of shots from various sources that were seamlessly tied together to tell the full story, including interviews with the eager crowd as they waited for the show to start. But the most prominent throughout is the official footage of Oasis playing both evenings, which is a mixture of wide, sweeping shots of the stage and the crowd (which help give viewers an idea of just how big this show really was), and close-ups of the band. Despite being recorded outdoors, at night, in the mid-90s, the clear imagery and crisp sound quality are both equally impressive (and a live album from the shows was just released by Big Brother Recordings).

Footage from other sources is interspersed with the official shots, carefully timed to fit in at the right moments during each song. And credit is particularly owed to the lengths the editing team went to when cutting shots of the crowd singing along to fit perfectly with the audio and hunting down clips of small but significant moments discussed in the voiceover interviews with fans.

From beginning to end, the film is narrated by a series of commentary from the band, concert organizers, and fans, which helps paint a much fuller picture than simply watching the concert alone. Overall, the effort put in to make Oasis Knebworth 1996 a cinematic experience shines through clearly, serving to heighten the experience for audiences watching in theaters or at home.

While the film largely documents the concert itself, it also details the anticipation of the moments leading up to it, including the mad dash to obtain tickets through overloaded phone lines — as this takes place well before the days of buying concert tickets on the internet — and the ceaseless buzz of elation for those who managed to get through. Most of the documentary is archival footage, but these in-between moments appear in the form of tasteful and period-appropriate reenactments. They’re brief and straightforward so as not to detract from the integrity of the film itself and help to carry the story forward in a chronological nature.

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The most enjoyable part about the documentary, ultimately, is the way that it manages to capture and convey the sheer, unabashed excitement and energy radiating from the crowd. It gives viewers a taste of the gravity of how incredible it was to witness Oasis play two extraordinary sets, packed with many of their best songs, at the pinnacle of their success. Whether you were lucky enough to have been there, or if you’re experiencing the footage of these shows for the very first time, Oasis Knebworth 1996 is a must-see for any and all fans of Oasis.

Oasis Knebworth 1996 is now streaming on Paramount+ in the U.S., Latin America, Australia, the Nordics, and Canada, and it will be available to stream in the U.K. next year. Fans located outside of these markets will have an opportunity to watch it on MTV. The film is now available on DVD and Blu-ray as well.

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Lindsey
Lindsey joined the Nerds and Beyond team in 2018. She has spent a large portion of her life dedicated to her first love, photography. When she's not behind the camera, she's likely reading books and comics or dabbling in creative writing. Otherwise, she's probably yelling about something Star Wars or Marvel related on Twitter @lindyysolo. Contact: lindsey@nerdsandbeyond.com

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