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Paradigm on Liam Gallagher’s Knebworth return

The frontman will play two sold-out nights at the fabled venue from 3-4 June next year, 26 years after Oasis' legendary shows

By James Hanley on 10 Nov 2021

Liam Gallagher, Rock im Park 2017, Stefan Brending

Liam Gallagher


image © Stefan Brending

Paradigm agents Alex Hardee and Adele Slater have given IQ the lowdown on Liam Gallagher’s momentous return to the UK’s Knebworth Park.

The former Oasis frontman will play two sold-out nights at the Stevenage site from 3-4 June next year, promoted by Festival Republic, Live Nation and SJM Concerts.

The concerts, which feature a support bill headed by Kasabian, were announced on the back of a new documentary marking 25 years since Oasis’ era-defining gigs at the legendary rock venue.

“I think that the idea might have been [Live Nation UK & Ireland chair] Denis Desmond’s, but we’re going to claim it as ours,” laughs Hardee. “It’s a good idea, but an obvious one.”

“With the timing of the anniversary of the film, it kind of just made sense,” adds Slater, who attended the original 1996 event.

However, Hardee reveals that demand for tickets for the 2022 sequel exceeded even his own lofty expectations.

At the outset, we thought the second show was an outside chance

“We knew it would capture the imagination and it would be a hot event, but it took us by surprise that we could do two [nights],” he tells IQ. “We always knew we’d do one, and we had a second day on hold. At the outset, we thought that the second show was an outside chance. But definitely by the announcement date – and the reaction online – we got ready, very quickly, to go for the second show.

“Selling these gigs is all about the timing, and we knew that the right time to announce these shows was before everyone else went up with their shows and also after the documentary had just landed. That got everyone excited and then we announced Knebworth – that was the skill in getting that show sold out.”

While Oasis famously sold 250,000 tickets across their two 1996 shows, each of Gallagher’s solo dates will be capped at 80,000 for logistical reasons.

“The road network around Knebworth is literally tiny little country roads, so to get another 45,000 people in would be a nightmare,” advises Slater. 

“Even though, in hindsight, people say [the original] was the greatest gig they’ve ever been to, there were massive queues for toilets and it’s a hard site to get into,” explains Hardee. “Also, we’re very mindful now that 25 years ago, you didn’t have social media. If you don’t get things right nowadays, it’s everywhere straightaway. So we’re mindful that we want to give a good customer experience. Twenty-five years ago, different things were acceptable.”

Gallagher, who played a “life-affirming” show for NHS workers at The O2 in London in August, performed a run of UK headline dates over the summer at festivals including Reading & Leeds, TRNSMT and Isle of Wight.

It was a massive statement and it resonated throughout the industry

Boosted by the Knebworth sellouts, the singer went on to announce his inaugural stadium solo headline shows at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium (1 June) and Hampden Park in Glasgow (26 June). He will also perform at Belsonic in Belfast’s Ormeau Park on 24 June.

“We didn’t want to dilute the announcement of Knebworth, we wanted to blow that out and then launch the other stadiums off the back of that,” says Hardee. “The other stadiums are going to sell out, but we wanted the statement of selling out two Knebworths [first]. It was a massive statement and it resonated throughout the industry. 

“We did a mechanism afterwards so that people in Manchester and Glasgow could change their tickets around if they wanted to and there was a bit of uptake on that. Not much, though, because I think most people wanted to go to Knebworth.”

Hardee and Slater have represented Gallagher on the live scene since his 2017 comeback, which was capped by headline outdoor concerts at London’s Finsbury Park (cap. 40,000) and Emirates Old Trafford (50,000) the following year. The frontman has appearances confirmed for Rock in Rio Lisbon, Syd For Solen in Denmark and France’s Beauregard Festival next summer and is making waves internationally.

“In some markets now, he’s bigger than Oasis were,” suggests Hardee. “He’s gone from club level to arena level now in most markets, and from headliner at secondary festivals to second on the bill at major festivals. And it’s growing – Knebworth’s had an effect.

“We don’t actually know what we can do bigger than two Knebworths next, apart from reforming Oasis. That’s the brain-teaser, but we can build his international career.”

A full interview with Alex Hardee and Adele Slater will appear in the next edition of IQ magazine at the end of this month. Click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month.

 


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