Oasis at Knebworth 20 years on: ‘Noel Gallagher popped up to the house for a bath’

PUBLISHED: 10:05 10 August 2016 | UPDATED: 16:33 20 October 2016

Henry Lytton Cobbold

Henry Lytton Cobbold

Archant

Twenty years ago today – August 10 – Oasis played the first of their two huge concerts at Knebworth House.

An incredible 250,000 people flocked to see the Britpop legends at the Hertfordshire stately home over the two nights.

At the time, they were the biggest concerts held in the country.

Both shows bring back fond memories for Knebworth House’s Henry Lytton Cobbold, who has been reflecting on the 20-year anniversary of the Oasis gigs this week.

Oasis Knebworth gig ticket for Saturday, August 10, 1996Oasis Knebworth gig ticket for Saturday, August 10, 1996

There were a reported three million ticket applications for the concerts – enough for Oasis to have sold out 24 consecutive nights at the iconic music venue.

The Gallagher brothers, Noel and Liam, were at the height of their popularity following the success of second album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? and the concerts are regarded as the defining moment of the Britpop era.

But Knebworth’s Henry Lytton Cobbold revealed: “At the end of February we didn’t even know there was going to be a concert.

The Oasis stage at Knebworth in 1996 seen from Knebworth HouseThe Oasis stage at Knebworth in 1996 seen from Knebworth House

“We didn’t get the enquiry until the end of February.

“That is an extremely short lead time for a concert of this size.

“I think Robbie Williams took a year-and-a-half’s worth of planning.

The Oasis stage at Knebworth in 1996The Oasis stage at Knebworth in 1996

“They had five months to get this together. That’s the shortest lead time we’ve ever had.

“They apparently had three million people apply for tickets, so they could have done six more weekends on that basis. So it was a massive moment.”

As well as Wonderwall band Oasis, the supporting cast over the two nights included the likes of The Prodigy, Manic Street Preachers, Cast, The Charlatans, The Chemical Brothers and Ocean Colour Scene.

The programme for the Oasis concerts at Knebworth in 1996The programme for the Oasis concerts at Knebworth in 1996

Henry, however, doesn’t remember too much about the actual music. There were thirsty Oasis fans to satisfy.

He said: “My excuse is not because I was backstage quaffing Champagne with the likes of Mick Hucknell and Martine McCutcheon, my excuse is that we were running the bars that year.

“And to do the bars for 125,000 people, and we need to accept Oasis’ audience is a bar-based audience, it’s not a Buxton Water audience, we were particularly busy, particularly Martha [Henry’s wife], who was managing the bars.

Oasis showtime poster at Knebworth in 1996Oasis showtime poster at Knebworth in 1996

“So I don’t remember much of the music.

“But it was an absolutely fantastic weekend and there are some great stories to come out of it.”

One such tale is of Noel Gallagher having a bath at the house on the Sunday morning.

Oasis Knebworth gig ticket for Sunday, August 11, 1996Oasis Knebworth gig ticket for Sunday, August 11, 1996

“Oasis decided this was a party and they were going to stay in Winnebagos backstage,” said Henry.

“The following morning Noel came up to Knebworth House asking if he could have a bath.

“My dad showed him to our Queen Elizabeth bedroom bathtub, which is a four-poster bathtub.

Noel and Liam Gallagher of Oasis at Air Studios in 1997 by Jill FurmanovskyNoel and Liam Gallagher of Oasis at Air Studios in 1997 by Jill Furmanovsky

“As it was a big weekend for them, my dad brought Noel a bottle of Champagne to have in the bath.”

Henry added: “Noel’s talked about this since, saying he was brought a bottle of Champagne by a ‘liveried servant’ when, in fact, it was his Lordship.

“They then signed the visitors’ book and Noel signed ‘Noel Gallagher – clean!’.

Oasis - Be Here Now (Chasing The Sun Edition) cover shot picture Big Brother Recordings 2016Oasis - Be Here Now (Chasing The Sun Edition) cover shot picture Big Brother Recordings 2016

“Then his bodyguard wrote his name and ‘Dirty!’.

“We should have perhaps kept the soap.”

• With today marking the 20th anniversary of the first of Oasis’ era-defining Knebworth gigs, Big Brother Recordings has released ‘My Big Mouth (Live At Knebworth Park)’.

A track written for Oasis’ record-breaking third album Be Here Now, originally released in 1997, My Big Mouth was premiered at the legendary 1996 shows, where the band played to 250,000 fans over two nights.

My Big Mouth (Live At Knebworth Park) is available to stream and download now and as an instant grat with pre-orders of the deluxe formats of Be Here Now Chasing The Sun Edition, which will be released on October 7.

The third release in the Oasis ‘Chasing The Sun: 1993-1997’ series, the album follows the successful re-releases of the legendary Manchester band’s first two albums, Definitely Maybe and (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?, which were both part of the same series.

• Listen to My Big Mouth (Live At Knebworth Park) here.

Pre-order Oasis ‘Be Here Now’ Chasing The Sun Edition from www.oasisinet.com


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