Definitely Maybe [Dvd] – Oasis

Label: Big Brother

Sometimes, once you’ve said something hard enough, often enough, it begins to feel like it might not actually ring true after all. Oasis have done enough work themselves to make you seriously doubt the validity of it all, but ‘Definitely Maybe’ does remain one of the most significant records released in our lifetimes. It still sounds inspirational, it is without question legendary, with influence but without peer. It’s been 10 years, 120 months, more than 87600 hours (you carry on with the maths), but it feels like so very much longer because too many beers, gin & tonics, white lines and products of the runaway hyperbole have passed under the bridge without leaving anything much residual to hold on to. Or not nearly as tightly. ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory’ was a good record, it had songs that were easy to like, some out there, it held its own. But where ‘Definitely Maybe’ and its related behaviour practically created a zeitgeist, almost everything post merely held it ransom. And that’s not playing fair. Which only underlines the significance of this record further than if they’d carried on ascending. 

A tenth anniversary worth celebrating then? Especially following a modern day Glastonbury set widely deemed pointless and underwhelming? It might reek of a cash-in on a memory too precious and unrivalled in many ways to deserve such treatment, but when assembled as completely as this DVD has been it’s actually a joy, a worthwhile appendix. So the quality of the raw audio goes without saying, the sheer belief that transcends the desperation lesser creations would have descended into with ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Star’, the psychedelic, looping punk attitude explosion of ‘Columbia’, their most socially attuned moment in ‘Cigarettes & Alcohol’, the gloriously nonsensical ‘Supersonic’ and Liam’s incredible, defining vocals in ‘Live Forever’ for starters. Even its lesser moments (‘Up In The Sky’ and, ahem, ‘Digsy’s Diner’ if you were wondering) add to its charm, the way it holds itself, somehow. Even if that’s pretty much the same thing as sticking up for a mate you know is wrong.

But the value of this collection is in its navigation and where that leads you. The audio streams automatically with some classic images morphing averagely in technicolor, but exploring off-piste is where this DVD comes into its own. Press the left button and get a searing live version of the track in question, largely crackling with excitement and aided further by hindsight, taken from sources such as their infamous Glasto 2004 set and 90s tack TV king The Word. Press right to get the promo, all present and correct. Or press up (and we do advise you to press up) for the story of that song in documentary form, and by far the most fun to be had. There are genuinely insightful comments from all involved – liggers, infamous loon Digsy, band members past and present, various crew and, of course, Mani. The anecdotes are rich, hilarious, ridiculous, and above all feel free of the pretentious shackles they were bound in at the time. Liam is brilliantly, honestly monotone, Noel’s on sparkling our-kid-bashing form and Mani has something about an anaconda worth hearing. To get the tone of the documentary know that ‘Bring It On Down’ basically features a multi-directional critique of Tony McCarrol’s drumming reaching the obvious and correct conclusions.

Wading through the six hours of footage on the 2 discs really rekindles something that’s been lain dormant probably for 8 years, certainly post-Knebworth. ‘Definitely Maybe’ and its comet trail created something that for all its belittling comparisons from all its detractors, could not simply be associated with anything other than itself. Without Lydon and Lennon for instance, Liam may never have been, but he was, and that’s that. For all of that though, previous vinyl-only track ‘Sad Song’ would have been as well staying concealed in a vault. It just offers too much of a glimpse of what they turned into after this.

Release: Oasis - Definitely Maybe [Dvd]
Review by:
Released: 22 September 2004