Friday 16 November 2018

Oasis are rock kings of the castle

Definitely no maybes as Britpop legends thrill 80,000 fans

Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

Oasis, the one-time kings of Britpop, rolled back the years in front of 80,000 ecstatic fans on the banks of the Boyne last night.

Fourteen years after they last played Slane Castle, the Gallagher Brothers are back at the top -- and it was a champagne supernova performance that wowed the huge crowd.

That promised heat wave never did come but the kings of Mancunian cool turned up the heat from the first song.

Noel Gallagher admitted before the gig that his memories of the last time they visited Lord Henry Mount Charles's back garden were somewhat hazy.

But it must have all come back to him as he looked down at the huge crowd packed into the natural amphitheatre of one of the world's truly great rock venues.

And for the Gallagher brothers it was very much a family affair, with a huge contingent of the extended clan given VIP access for a gig that became something of a homecoming for a band still proud of their Mayo roots.

Kicking off with Rock N Roll Star, the hill erupted as the British pop legends banged out some of their newest hits, such as Lyla and Shock of the Lightning, before delighting the crowd with classics including Roll With It, Wonderwall and their massive smash hit anthem Don't Look Back In Anger.

The united voice of thousands of the band's die-hard followers could be heard for miles around the castle as the laconic Manchester outfit rocked it up.

Back at the VIP garden party, scores of the brothers' extended family lapped up the atmosphere at a gig that is regarded as the first big date of the Summer.

They could be seen living it up with other VIP guests in the cocktail bar, champagne room and Irish whiskey tent.

Manchester City star Stephen Ireland -- who is said to be a hero of the lads -- was also on the list to party the night away alongside fellow footballer and former Irish international Gary Kelly, who hails from just up the road in Drogheda.

Other celebrity guests at the gig included surprise Oasis fans lawyer Gerald Keane and RTE star Marty Whelan.

Welcoming them with open arms, Henry Mount Charles said: "A combination of the Prodigy and Oasis in the year 2009 is hard to beat -- and I'd like to officially declare Noel and Liam Gallagher honourary Slane people."

He also thanked the people of Slane for giving the concert the go-ahead.

As darkness began to descend on the castle, throngs of satisfied revellers made their way up the steep incline and home.

The imposing castle, seat of the aristocratic Mount Charles family, was the only thing left bustling with life. And one couldn't help but wonder whether the rest of us were missing the real party.

Earlier, high-profile warm-up acts, including The Prodigy and Kasabian, entertained the crowd during the afternoon, as well as Mullingar band The Blizzards, who put on a high-energy set that was full of verve.

That kept the fans more than happy but there was no doubt who the real stars were.

With a whopping 70 million records sold worldwide, the crowd were left in no doubt that they were in the presence of a band that had shaped a generation.

This stadium tour sees the group -- completed by guitarist G M Archer, bassist Andy Bell and drummer Chris Sharrock -- play to their biggest audiences yet but it's doubtful they will ever forget their second visit to Slane. It was a triumph.

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