Was it really ten years ago? Although there was a vague concept of something called 'Britpop' before Oasis it was the Gallagher brothers who dragged it kicking and screaming into the mainstream. They had the attitude but more importantly they had the songs. Definitely Maybe was an era-defining album, certainly one of the best debuts of all time, and still sounds as fresh now as it did in 1994.
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the release of Definitely Maybe, we now have this DVD version of the album. As well as the entire album (including the previously vinyl-only Sad Song) remastered in glorious 5.1 stereo, there's also videos for all four singles (together with director commentaries), live versions of every song on the album, a song-by-song hour long documentary detailing the history behind each track, and an extra disc full of interviews and anecdotes. In the future, all albums will be made this way.
Musically, you may as well throw away your CD copy as it has never sounded better than it does here. Rock N Roll Star pumps through the speakers, laying claim to being the best opening track of an album ever, Live Forever sounds as life affirming as ever, Slide Away is just wonderful and Digsy's Dinner is...well, let's draw a veil over that one. While the songs are playing a montage of images plays on the TV screen, although it's how well the album has been remastered which is the real draw.
The documentary is the other vital feature for fans and is an immensely entertaining hour. Everyone who's ever been involved in the band, from Noel and Liam, former band members Tony McCarroll and Bonehead, producer Mark Coyle, right down to roadies for the band are interviewed about their memories of the album. Noel, as ever, provides the best anecdotes. Anyone who's ever seen the Britpop documentary Live Forever knows how funny he can be, and he is hilarious here.
The whole story of the recording of the album is laid bare here, from the disastrous first sessions that saw the entire album being scrapped through to encounters with a spaced out Stone Roses in North Wales (Mani from the Roses contributing some very droll anecdotes here). We also learn of the stories behind each song, such as Shakermaker being completed in the car on the way to the studio, the influence of a Liverpudlian accent upon Columbia and a very comical interview with the real life Digsy, a livewire, foul mouthed Scouser ("I don't even f**king like lasagne!!").
The TV footage includes performances from Top Of The Pops, Later and Naked City and is a reminder of what made Oasis so vital and exciting in the first place. The videos are pretty basic, but worth watching, especially with the illuminating commentary feature switched on.
The second disc is also well worth investigating, consisting of live performances of I Am The Walrus and Live Forever, plus anecdotes about incidents such as Noel's walkout in the middle of a US tour, the time a fan in Newcastle jumped up on stage and punched Noel and the shooting of the cover of Definitely Maybe (which was Bonehead's front room as it turned out). One surprising revelation that comes from this sequence is that the red wine featured on the cover is actually Ribena!
This DVD is truly ground-breaking, and is one of the few music DVDs that truly harnesses the power of the medium. It would be nice to see a few other classic albums released in this format - in fact, if this sells well, maybe (What's The Story) Morning Glory can be next up. Although we're not that desperate for Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants thanks Noel...