As I attempt to fool myself I can outrun the advancing years, there is a rapidly increasing list of activity that I believe I am no longer capable of, including attending ‘supergigs’.

Liam at Knebworth was an offer I couldn’t refuse, however, as the potty mouthed ‘Rkid’ made a triumphant return to the outdoor venue. With the virtual ticket in hand, I found age stifled spontaneity and replaced it with preparation, as I conveyed my mini backpack, stuffed with phone charger, snacks, shades, a sun cap, a jacket and spare vape batteries. Packed and strapped, I eventually reached the entrance gate some two hours after setting off on the 10-mile journey.


Brett Elllis watches Liam Gallagher at Knebworth

Brett Elllis watches Liam Gallagher at Knebworth


A gloriously sunny day was improved an hour later when I finally managed to locate my ‘gig gang’ despite the phone reception being non-existent except for outside the men’s toilets which, even at that early stage, were smelling like a Strangeways dirty protest. We sat and chatted, all hoping that someone else was in the saddle to get a round in as they disappeared on a one-hour round trip to return with 50 quid’s worth of warm, underwhelming booze, served up in thin cups which proved as hardy as a McDonald's paper straw.

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Surveying the scene as the crowds swelled to 80,000 was a sight to behold, with the 90% middle aged male contingent struggling to squeeze into their retro bucket hats and adidas t shirts. Just before Paulo Nutini came on stage to prove why he is one of the most under rated singer songwriters of current times, the air was punctuated by the boy from Burnage who arrived on a helicopter, although I cannot say if he did it with a doctor, accompanied by his mother and girlfriend/ manager. Kasabian, with a new lead singer, rocked to the rafters as the drink flowed and then began to be thrown, along with cups of urine.

So, as I stood sweltering in a rain jacket with the hood up to avoid the latest impromptu golden shower from up yonder, I realised that attending such events is not just about the music. As a huge Oasis fan, and having seen them in my youth, it was about the characters and incidents that, sadistically, put a smile on my face. The food choice was as expected, eclectic and ravishing, despite the captive audience price tags. The toilets on the other hand were a disgrace, as the open-air urinals overflowed and created makeshift rivers. One young lad, the worst for wear, danced through such a river, slipped and ended up face first on the ground as his so-called friends mocked him mercilessly as they videoed his demise for posterity.

I was ‘accosted’ twice: Once by an inebriated unit who told me I looked like an ‘undercover copper’ and another who insisted on a selfie in the belief that I was the 90’s singer ‘Moby’. All good humoured, we then encountered the sex pest who felt the need to unzip and show everyone his little chap despite being unanimously condemned by male and female gigsters.


Liam Gallagher at the Teenage Cancer Trust Concert, at the Royal Albert Hall, London on March 26. Photo: PA

Liam Gallagher at the Teenage Cancer Trust Concert, at the Royal Albert Hall, London on March 26. Photo: PA


Not wishing to miss Liam’s set by getting another round in, we plotted down on a rapidly crowded patch of grass and were impressed to note he arrived on stage on time, dressed in all white, to replicate his Oasis Knebworth look from yesteryear. Aptly kicking it off with ‘Hello’, he belted out Oasis banger after banger as the crowd went ballistic. It is difficult to state definitively whether his vocal powers have deserted him due to the singalong nature of the crowd, that was until he played some of his instantly forgettable solo stuff halfway through as he celebrated yet another UK number 1 album.

There was surprisingly little swearing or emotion from the man, and the feeling was he wanted to, understandably, get through it without incident, as the atmosphere fizzed and bubbled up to a crescendo.

Did he triumph? Undoubtedly so and it was a seminal moment in music history that his older, arguably more talented sibling, will no doubt look back in anger upon, although several tricks were missed (where were the huge inflatable footballs?) despite hitting home with the arrival of the Stone Roses’ John Squire for the long goodbye of Champagne Supernova.

From the exaltation of the gig, everyone was brought back down to earth by the organisers rank inability, despite having a quarter century to plan the smooth transition of 80000 off site, to plan effectively. We were herded like cattle through darkened paths as many tripped over bollards and down potholes before being ushered miles from the pickup points past blocked roads before reaching Stevenage train station, despite our lift waiting some miles away in a Tesco car park near Knebworth. Even an overtly aggressive security team outside the station failed to put a negative slant on what was an otherwise biblical evening as I proved there is some life in the old dog yet as, for a few brief hours, I felt as if I could live forever.

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher