Everyone Is Asking ‘Will Oasis Reunite?’, The Real Question Is ‘Should They?’

6 June 2023 | 11:15 am | Melissa Griffin

Could an Oasis reunion ever really work? Why don’t we picture what it could look like?

Photo of Liam and Noel Gallagher

Photo of Liam and Noel Gallagher (Credit: Stefan De Batselier)

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Since their predictably dramatic split in 2009, Britpop heavyweights Oasis have been continuously on the cusp of a reunion, or rather, rumoured to be. 

The long-standing ‘will they/won’t they’ perpetuated by hardcore fans, the media and Noel and Liam Gallagher themselves, conveniently brushes over the fact that the infamous Mancunian brothers haven’t been in the same room as each for over a decade. So why are fans still desperately clinging to the hope of another Knebworth?

The Manchester brothers, famous for their public feuds as much as their era-defining music, made headlines again recently after responding to speculation from The Sun about a reunion that would see the band return for a four-night run of shows at Knebworth in 2025 (no members of the band were actually consulted on this). 

Despite the brothers’ obvious continual disdain for each other and sustained success in their own solo projects, fans of the Britpop band are more than willing to buy into the idea of a potential reconciliation – even if just for a one-off concert.

And it’s not just Oasis fans that embrace the rumours.

For almost 40 years, fans of Swedish pop supergroup ABBA continued to believe that they would once again grace the stage in flared jumpsuits. Although band member Björn Ulvaeus stated the group would “never appear on stage again” in a 2008 interview, patient fans were somewhat rewarded in 2021 when the group announced the release of a new album to coincide with the ABBA Voyage concert experience; one that would see de-aged CGI ABBA-tars perform in place of the real-life musicians.

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It may not be the reunion that fans had expected, but perhaps ABBA has hit the nail on the head with the rose-tinted experience fans really want. Audiences are given the impression that the group are picking up exactly where they left off in 1982, with a recap of their biggest hits performed by the energetic, young, sparkly versions of themselves. The band have denied any plans to reunite as their older selves, but maybe that’s for the best.

History has provided plenty of examples of bands reuniting only to fall short. Memories of great bands that called it a day in their prime have been tainted by misguided attempts to recapture the magic. A picture-perfect ending for one of the biggest bands of all time on a rooftop in London’s Savile Row was spoiled by the release of three new singles in 1995 as part of The Beatles Anthology project. Using John Lennon’s solo demo tapes gifted to them by Yoko Ono, The Beatles released three posthumous singles that left fans and music critics disappointed after their 25-year silence.

Pioneering New York rock outfit The Velvet Underground also attempted a reunion in the 90s, which ended abruptly when tension between singer Lou Reed and viola player/bassist John Cale came to a head. Forcing closed the next chapter of an iconic band before it began. The bitter aftertaste and disappointment for artists and fans alike proved that sometimes it’s better to let sleeping dogs lie.

However, there is the occasional success story that can escalate reunion rumours into a heralded comeback. Recently, Oasis rivals and fellow Britpop giants Blur announced their return with two headline shows at London’s Wembley Stadium, with a brand new album to be released in July. 

If reviews for their first single The Narcissist and intimate warm-up gigs ahead of their stadium shows are anything to go by, it appears Blur have returned in fine form. Another era-defining band that saw recent comeback success are naughties indie-rockers the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, whose 2022 album Cool It Down was met with high praise for their evolved sound. Both bands have managed to shepherd nostalgic fans into a new era, reflecting on but not letting the past stagnate them.

Reunions can be a tricky balance between nostalgia for the idealistic past and artistic progression. But maybe there should be a distinct line drawn between a reunion and a comeback, in which our expectations can be managed by a band’s intention. Are they only coming together to relive the glory days in a money grab, or are they reunifying on a shared artistic bond?

If history has taught us anything it’s that the band reunion will only work if the members are (at the very least) on good terms with one another and can still bring enthusiasm and fresh energy along with them. Or in the case of ABBA, utilise an incredibly expensive and revolutionary technology that allows them to sip tea at home on the couch while the money rakes in and the fans leave satisfied.

So, could an Oasis reunion ever really work? Why don’t we picture what it could look like?

Fans await in excited anticipation, packed under the stars in a sea of bucket hats as far as the eye can see. They may have shelled out a fortune on tickets, transportation, official merchandise and venue-priced beers – but they’re finally getting their moment. They stand and nod their heads politely through the support acts (though searching for a band that hasn’t been slagged off by Noel Gallagher may prove an issue), waiting, waiting, waiting for the stage lights to dim as the tension in the air builds with each passing minute. Until, an announcement from a bodiless voice off-stage sounds through the speakers.

Liam and Noel had a bit of a tiff. Someone forgot to organise separate green rooms and words were exchanged after the brothers finally found themselves in the same room for the first time in over a decade. Something about who wrote the most hits, but it doesn’t really matter because the point is they both stormed off in separate helicopters. Lights up, shows over folks. Apologies for the inconvenience, refunds will be offered by your ticket provider in the coming weeks.

It is a slightly bleak picture. One that you may think I have no authority to paint, but you know what? I can confidently say I’d be one of those bodies in the crowd wearing a $60 t-shirt and a smile on my face, waiting for the moment that others thought impossible: When the drums count in as the opening guitar lick to Cigarettes & Alcohol rings out through the night, enveloping everyone in the warm fuzzy embrace of nostalgia.

For now, at least, I think fans will have to find solace in the fact that both brothers are still happy to continue adding Oasis hits to their own setlists.