OASIS played four outdoor summer shows in Loch Lomond and Knebworth 25 years ago that saw 5% of the population apply for tickets. It remains the largest ever demand for concert tickets in Britain.

Today it’s difficult to imagine a gig on the scale of Knebworth for just one band with 250,000 people over two nights travelling from every corner of the British Isles and beyond on a musical pilgrimage by coach, trains or in battered motors that blew up on the road.

A new film and book look back to the summer of 1996 when Oasis reached the summit. Jill Furmanovsky had already made a career taking pictures of rock stars but her definitive work would be with the Manchester band.

“I was nearly 40 and very experienced but I did my best work with Oasis because they allowed me to get close. I was the right age, I wasn’t like a girlfriend or groupie, I wasn’t after anything from them.”

The photographer suggests that the Loch Lomond concerts, which attracted 80,000 fans over two days in August, kicked off “those bigger summer shows with new lighting, a bigger rig, graphics and fireworks. They were now doing festivals and Loch Lomond was the first. There was a tragic death backstage with a crew worker [James Hunter] and so there was this atmosphere that something terrible had happened.”

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With the gigs going ahead, Furmanovsky ventured out onto the Balloch grounds. “It was a wonderful crowd and beautiful weather. I had someone on the lighting tower taking pictures of the fireworks lighting up the sky in that beautiful landscape, it was wonderful.”

Brian Cannon, a member of the band’s inner sanctum who designed the record sleeves for long-players Definitely Maybe and Morning Glory, says: “The sense of occasion for those shows in Scotland was enormous because of the reputation of the fans. By that stage, the VIP tent was bigger than most bands' gigs, which is just nuts. On my way to Loch Lomond, we got stuck for half-an-hour in Dumbarton. I asked the guard if there was anywhere to get a drink; he said: ‘Son, you’re in Scotland, you’ll get a drink in a bank!’”

The forthcoming Knebworth film directed by Jake Scott, son of director Ridley Scott, captures the wider sense of community and fan experience. With Loch Lomond selling out first, many Scots were offered tickets for Knebworth in Hertfordshire. One 14-year-old fan, having no idea where it was, decided to buy the tickets on the spur of the moment, much to the chagrin of her parents.

Thankfully, her elder brother stepped in to save the day and said: “I’ll take you”. He wasn’t a fan but understood the enormity of the moment and what it meant to his sister. “That’s one of my favourite stories in the film”, suggests Scott, “you hear from her [Madeleine Hamilton] throughout. She lost her brother [to cancer] but for them, it was this perfect moment.”

It’s one of many memorable accounts in the film, another fan suggests it was less of a “testosterone” charged event compared to later concerts. The band’s final Scottish gig at Murrayfield in 2009 was marred when one fan was hospitalised after being stamped on and attacked by a group of thugs.

Jake Scott adds: “When you look at the crowds, it’s half female and they are there because they love the music, they love every bloody word. It takes an incredible amount of work to get that good as a band, the yob image of Oasis is really short-sighted.”

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Liam Gallagher is described as “angelic” by one fan when appearing on stage in white with a Brian Jones haircut having borrowed a jumper from his then-fiancé Patsy Kensit, claiming to have not realised he was playing two nights. Certainly, the younger Gallagher isn’t precious about his image, many pictures in the book that accompany the film are off the cuff.

“He’s not particularly vain, he’s not a preening rock star looking in the mirror”, says Furmanovsky. “His charisma was from within and without; he was gifted with those beautiful looks and that was an interesting combination for a photographer.”

The two shows at Knebworth were following in a rock tradition of bands such as Pink Floyd, the Stones, Led Zeppelin and Queen playing in the southern English countryside. So how did, as Noel Gallagher, suggests “five Irish-Mancunian shit-kickers from two council estates” eclipse all of those events and have the last word in British rock n’ roll just two years after releasing their debut album?

Mary McGuigan, the sister of original bass player Paul ‘Guigsy’ McGuigan had gone from fly-posting for the band around Manchester and watching her brother play to “three men and a dog” to becoming bigger than The Beatles back in 1996.

“There was this incremental feeling of ‘how can this be happening’ like when they first played the G-Mex in Manchester, then Maine Road and now Knebworth. Until we drove through the gates at Knebworth I don’t think I realised how mental it had become.”

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McGuigan suggests one of the great unspoken strengths of the band were the robust Irish matriarchs that raised the original five members. Furmanovsky dedicated her Manchester exhibition Oasis DNA to Liam and Noel’s mother Peggy in 2016 “because she was such a source of strength.”

By the Spring of 1995, Oasis had lost their first original member in drummer Tony McCarroll, three years later Knebworth bass player Guigsy and rhythm guitarist Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs would also exit taking something of the band’s original spirit with them. Oasis also shed some of their pop sensibilities to become a much rockier enterprise: “When you remove part of the band that DNA changes”, adds Furmanovsky.

For Jake Scott timing was essential in creating what is often described as the gig of the decade. “There was a cultural renaissance happening in the UK, the art world was on fire, a lot of Manchester music and rave culture had laid the foundations, decades of Tory leadership was coming to an end and this New Labour bloke was coming through. England and Scotland had qualified for Euro 96.

"It was an optimistic time in terms of youth culture. I didn’t want the film to be a maudlin thing of looking back, as much as we could I wanted it to be in the present or literally like last weekend.” As Noel Gallagher suggests the fans don’t look much different to festival audiences today but the lack of mobile phones allowed the multitude to be completely in the moment.

What has also shifted is a more divisive, less communal culture and that feeling of a youth movement buying into the identity of a band or artist in the way fans of The Beatles and Bowie had in the 60s and 70s.

A point of contention among Oasis fans is memories of the gig; was it any good? Collective amnesia seemed to form around Knebworth perhaps because of the sheer scale of the event. With two-hour queues for a pint, filthy toilets, endless traffic getting out of the gig, a food/rubbish fight and the challenge of getting a decent spot in the crowd, it was never going to be the ideal gig experience.

Perhaps the best way to view Knebworth is 25 years later at the cinema or in the comfort of your own home when the DVD is released later this year. What emerges from the film are the guitar pop sensibilities on a string of era-defining hits only rivalled by the band’s equally loved b-sides and album cuts. The harmonies between the brothers would never sound better.

“I guess it’s no coincidence as that was the band is at its peak”, suggests Noel Gallagher. It’s because “Liam is at his zenith with his voice and the way he looked.”

The band’s frontman is currently on tour with his former Oasis bandmate Bonehead, the set includes a cherry-picked run of Oasis songs for a new generation of fans hearing them live for the first time, the closest they will get to a reunion.

Brian Cannon suggests that, like The Beatles, it’s not about the band reforming. “Here we are 12 years on since Oasis split and they are just getting bigger because you have all the fans from back then and the next generation, effectively it’s only The Beatles you can compare them to in terms of a cultural phenomenon because Oasis are bigger now than The Beatles were 12 years on from when they split in 1982. The groundswell had not begun yet, at that point no one gave a f*** about The Beatles. Oasis is massive at the moment; the future is world domination.”

Oasis: Knebworth, photography by Jill Furmanovsky, text by Daniel Rachel. Published by Cassell Illustrated, £40 www.octopusbooks.co.uk

Oasis Knebworth 1996 is in cinemas on 23rd and 24th September. See www.oasisknebworth1996.com for details