Flashback: Oasis Close Out Final Gig With ‘I Am the Walrus’
Nobody who caught Oasis’ set at the V Festival in Staffordshire, England on August 22nd, 2009 knew they were watching the band’s final show. The group had been on the road for a year at that point supporting their new album Dig Your Soul and had a mere four gigs to go before it wrapped up. They took the stage at the end of the evening following sets by James, Elbow and Snow Patrol and performed a 19-song set heavy on classics like “Wonderwall,” “Supersonic” and “Champagne Supernova.” It wrapped up with “I Am The Walrus,” which had been a part of their live repertoire since their earliest days.
The first sign of trouble came the next night when they cancelled the second night of the V Festival due to “Laryngitis,” but rumors were swirling that the group was once again in a state of disarray. Noel Gallagher later claimed Liam simply didn’t show up to the show due to a hangover, but the following weekend he arrived at the Rock en Seine Festival in Paris ready to play. Someone made the mistake of putting the band in a tiny dressing room, and soon enough tempers were flaring.
According to Noel’s account in 2011, Liam was furious over the bad press he’d gotten over canceling the last show. “He thinks I’m some sort of fucking puppet master who controls the media in England,” Noel said. “So we get to Paris and he’s reeling off journalists names. It’s all manner of people I have never met, ‘You fucking tell Johnny Bowles Mustache I want to kick his fucking head in.’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t know what you’re going on about.'”
Liam then threw a plum against the wall, stormed out and came back with a guitar in his hands. “He started wielding it like an axe and I’m not fucking kidding,” said Noel. “And I’m making light of it because it’s kind of what I do, but it was a real unnecessary violent act, and he’s swinging this guitar around, he nearly took my face off with it. I was like, ‘You know what? I’m fucking out of here.’ And at that point someone came in and said, ‘Five minutes!’ I kind of got in the car and I sat there for five minutes and I just said ‘Fuck it, I can’t do it anymore.'”
Oasis didn’t perform that night. Hours later, Noel released a statement. “It’s with some sadness and great relief to tell you that I quit tonight,” he wrote. “People will write and say what they like, but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer. Apologies to all the people who bought tickets for the shows in Paris, Konstanz and Milan.” Better footage of their final encore the previous week of “I Am The Walrus” may be out there somewhere, but the only thing available now is this shoddy audience video. The audio is decent at least.
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Considering the huge amount of they stand to make should they ever reform, a reunion seems inevitable. But Noel has been pretty consistent that he has no interest. “Every day of the week people say, ‘You’ll definitely reform – you will,'” he told Rolling Stone earlier this year. “And I’m just like, ‘That’s so fucking rude.’ They try to Jedi-mind-trick me.” He just laughed at the rumors that they’re going to simply do it without him. “I’d fucking pay to see that,” he said. “That’d be fucking interesting. We should start a rumor that I’m going to do it without Liam and I’m gonna use a hologram like they did with Tupac at Coachella. Look, to be honest, I don’t need the money.” What if promoters come to him in a ten years and offer him $50 million. “Oh, I’m in,” he said. “I’m fucking in.”
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