Why One Love Manchester Wasn’t The Time Or Place For An Oasis Reunion
For a few minutes, it seemed like the unthinkable might happen.
There was no mention of a special guest slot throughout Ariana Grande’s return to Manchester on Sunday – not until right before it happened, anyway. Coldplay, who performed immediately beforehand, alluded to it, as did Ore Oduba and Sara Cox in the BBC studio. Feedback rang out, amidst which snatches of the intro to ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’ were teased. If ever Oasis were going to reform, surely now was the time, in the face of unthinkable adversity in their hometown and with the world watching.
“He chartered a private jet to get him to Old Trafford on time”
In actuality, only Liam Gallagher took to the stage, and the reason his secret set at One Love Manchester on Sunday was kept under wraps was probably because it was so last-minute; he chartered a private jet to get him to Old Trafford on time after fulfilling promotional commitments for his forthcoming solo record in Germany. That sense of electricity, that we might be about to witness history, fizzled out. Noel Gallagher had been true to his word – he remained in Italy on holiday. There was to be no truce, no unimaginable expression of brotherly love.
“In fairness, we did get one unlikely union”
In fairness, we did get one unlikely union when Chris Martin backed the younger Gallagher on ‘Live Forever’, a surreal sight given that Liam has previously ascribed such unflattering descriptions as ‘geography teacher’, ‘vicar’ and ‘like [somebody in] The Tweenies’. Ultimately, though, the One Love concert wouldn’t have been the appropriate setting for a first Oasis appearance since 2009.
The main reason is because of what an enormous news story it would have been in the music world; there would have been the very real danger of it detracting from the focus of the event, which was those affected by the attack at Manchester Arena – the victims and their families. On top of that, there would have been something perverse about the music press’ attention being diverted from the undeniable star of the show, Ariana Grande.
There would have been something perverse about the music press’ attention being diverted from the undeniable star of the show, Ariana Grande.
Most wouldn’t have blamed her for never performing live again after going through the traumatic experience of knowing that twenty-two people – many of them young – went to her concert and never came home. For her to return to Manchester within a fortnight was an astonishing act of bravery, and everything about her performance at One Love spoke of her deep compassion and empathy as a human being, not just as a performer.
One Love Manchester was a victory for the joy of pop music and the importance of it to its young fans.
Plus, her appearance – and the concert in general – felt like a victory for pop music itself, and a rebuke to those who so short-sightedly see chart-friendly songs like Grande’s as less worthy or less important than rock records like Oasis’. One Love Manchester was a victory for the joy of pop music and th importance of it to its young fans – it didn’t need a Gallagher sideshow stealing the limelight instead. Plus, when so much of the response to the attack has been about maintaining normality, wasn’t it just a little bit reassuring to see Liam taking potshots at Noel on Twitter just hours afterwards?