Our story, Morning Glory10th April 2012 • 14 comments
At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I truly believe music to be the most important thing in the world. It’s always there for you, caters to your every mood and whim, and never leaves you.
Since 1996, no songwriter has been more a constant in my life than Noel Gallagher. It was quite funny, really. Oasis were coming to Chicago to support ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’ and my best friend, Selena, had gotten me tickets as a Christmas gift. We were casual fans, at best, and maybe knew a handful of songs.
We were barely aged 18 and, being in college at the time, had little to worry about in the world. We went to the gig because, quite frankly, there was really nothing better to do. The show was entertaining; the band sounded good and we enjoyed ourselves. The interesting part began after the gig (as I suppose is often the case). As we stood on Lawrence Avenue, we discussed the songs performed that evening. We mentioned the noticeable absence of classic track ‘She’s Electric‘ and began singing and dancing. Unaware of the crowd gathering across the street, we kept at it, completely oblivious to the fact that Noel Gallagher himself was situated comfortably inside the venue watching our impromptu variety show from a window above.
For some reason, perhaps our absolute disinterest in him, he started speaking to us, ignoring the crowd screaming to/for/at him. We exchanged menial pleasantries and conversation and, at one point, he walked downstairs, past the crowd, across the street, and came over the chat with us.
We still have no idea why, but whatever the reason, it happened.
Eventually the swarm noticed him and he ran back inside. Once safe in his window, he asked us if we were going to the gig in Milwaukee. It had never occurred to us as we were barely interested in Oasis (until that moment) so we told him we hadn’t planned on it.
We told him we had work and school and weren’t going to go to Wisconsin.
He asked us to go and said he would put us on the guest list. Being naïve to such things at that time, we asked him if he were able to do that (hahaha), at which time I’m fairly certain he literally laughed out lout at us. If not, at the very least he rolled his eyes. Or he should have.
We said we would think about it. (We were so cool)
Selena was completely on board with going. I wasn’t as much, until she put on ‘Live Forever’ …and I was sold.
Not knowing where to go, other than ‘North‘, or what to do when we got there, our road trip began. The drive to Milwaukee proved to be far less intensive or dramatic than everyone said it would be and, somehow, we found the venue with no trouble.
When we got there, we met Noel’s guitar tech, Jason, who told us that the show had been canceled because the equipment had gotten wet. He said it was to take place the next night, which meant we needed excuses for work and school again, but at least we knew the drive this time.
When we got to Milwaukee the next day, I wanted to brush my teeth. With no water in sight to rinse the toothpaste, Pepsi seemed like an appropriate substitute. I normally wouldn’t mention my dental hygiene in such a piece, however, on this particular occasion, one Noel Gallagher happened to be in the front seat of his tour bus watching as I accomplished this ridiculous, if not entirely futile attempt at teeth cleaning.
After we noticed him (and felt stupid, again), we walked over to the bus to chat with him. He instantly knew who we were (which was slightly shocking) and he asked if we had come up the day before.
We told him we had and he apologised and explained the issue with the gear. We told him it was no problem and thanked him again for the guest list spots.
After that, we went to walk around a bit and secure spots in line.
The radio station sponsoring the show was playing ‘Come on Eileen‘ by Dexy’s Midnight Runners and we danced in the street. Guess who was watching from the window? Yep, Noel. We never didn’t look stupid in front of him.
Once in the venue, we came to find that Noel had put us on the guest list with +5, which was insanely generous. Additionally, he had given us All Access (yes, All Access) passes to the backstage. We. Were. Shocked. Selena and I both thought were getting tickets, just tickets.
After the gig, we were ushered backstage and met the band. Liam was there momentarily where I said something snarky to him because he was being very rude…and that was the last we saw of him.
We spent a couple of hours with just Noel. Just Noel. This was before the record really blew up in America and myself, Selena, and Noel Gallagher spent a good couple of hours alone in a room talking about everything and nothing. Making silly jokes, making fun of one another, talking about music, and acting like old friends. He remains, to this day, one of the kindest, most genuine, and funniest musicians I have ever met, and I’ve met quite a lot of them.
After awhile, Noel was called away to do some press. We hadn’t seen him for quite some time when a big security guard type came out to talk to us.
He walked over to us and said: “You don’t have to come with me, but you’d be better off if you did.” I thought he was going to kill us. Selena thought he was going to kick us out.
He did neither. He took us into the band’s dressing room where Noel sat with Alan, Guigsy, and Bonehead (AKA Googy, Bonehead, and Paul).
We spent another couple of hours in there with the entire band (well, sans Liam of course. He had apparently been accused by this point, of stealing some girl’s wallet. Noel said: “He probably did.”)
Noel pointed out that, since we had been at the venue all day, we mustn’t have eaten and, when the managers or similar went to McDonald’s, he saw to it that they got food for us as well.
Then it was time for the buses to leave for the next city. Alan White, then drummer, walked over to me, held my hand, and said: “I didn’t get to talk to you much, but it was nice meeting you. Give us a kiss then, love.” And kissed me on the cheek. *swoon* or *sigh*
This was in March of 1996 and Selena and I both remember just about every detail of that day.
When Oasis came back to Chicago that August, Kevin (the man we thought was going to eject/kill us) actually remembered us and gave us All Access passes again. The band were considerably more popular by then as ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’ had gone properly mega by then and the backstage scene was crazy.
We didn’t get hours alone with Noel and the band, but they remembered us. Funnily, Liam wasn’t there. Again. He stayed in England to shop for houses.
Truth be told, I’d rather stay in England to shop for houses than come to Chicago, as well,
My point in mentioning this is partly nostalgia because Selena and I saw Noel twice last week (in Chicago and Milwaukee) and partly to say…again… that what musicians do really matters to people. We honestly couldn’t really have cared less about Oasis before having met Noel. We didn’t know which was Noel and which was Liam prior to that gig.
That encounter *made* me adore him. It *made* me explore the music. In being a person and doing what was probably really nothing special, Noel made himself one of my (and Selena’s) favourite singers ever. Ever. I really couldn’t care less about Liam when it comes to Oasis, in part because I had not-so-great experiences with him, and in part because I had really good experiences with his brother.
It also probably helps that I happen to relate to and enjoy the music he writes and performs.