The Masterplan: A Review of the Oasis Doc ‘Supersonic’
Just like a quality buddy-cop movie, the dynamic between the Gallagher brothers was infamous. You had the anything-goes rock star / wild man in Liam, and the smart, slightly reserved (comparatively, anyway) pragmatic artist in Noel. Their brash sense of humor and belligerence are legendary, encompassing everything from calling Jack White "Zorro on doughnuts" to wishing AIDS upon Damon Albarn. It's this unhinged behavior — and the goddamn incredible songs that it produced — that built Oasis' deep catalog of stunning LPs and B-sides, up until their 2009 split. Supersonic is the story of that five-piece from Manchester, possibly the biggest band that the U.K. has ever witnessed.
Supersonic starts and ends with a bang, showcasing the band at arguably its best: playing to a crowd of 125,000 lucky fans at Knebworth (a reported 2.6 million tried for tickets across two dates and were left empty-handed). From there, stories are told regarding Noel's time as a roadie with Inspiral Carpets; the first Oasis gig in August of 1992, with only Liam; Noel's eventual recruitment after briefly contemplating management; the eureka moments creating "Supersonic" and "Talk Tonight"; their infamous meth binge and subsequent disastrous showing at the Whiskey A Go Go, and so many more. Anchored by virtually wall-to-wall archival footage, the film is a rich — albeit somewhat revisionist — history of arguably Britain's biggest band, largely avoiding the tabloid fodder that made them household names away from the music.
The musical portion is an endless treasure trove, but it's the good and the bad that truly made these Manchester boys legends in the eyes of some. The infamous infighting between the brothers is present, but somewhat marginalized. The shit-talking of fellow chart toppers Blur is completely ignored for more obvious targets (in reference to becoming pop stars, Noel once famously said, "I want the severed head of Phil Collins in my fridge"). The Kanye West-ian braggadocio is present, but not as omnipresent as it was in those days. Regardless of all of that, Supersonic retains its swagger, and for Oasis, that's what it's all about.
Supersonic is the perfect primer for nostalgists and the unfamiliar, but Oasis fanatics and those heavily versed in '90s culture will be able to fill in some of the blanks. Is the rosy view part of a pivot toward an eventual reunion? Possibly. Regardless of the arguable minimization of some of the band's most outrageous times, the documentary is worth the two hours for the stunning behind-the-scenes videos, the hilarious banter of the Gallagher brothers and the excellent high-level narrative. It's a reminder of how truly massive Oasis were, and that when Noel said, "Fifty years from now, our records will still be in the shops," he was definitely right.
Here's to a reunion. Coachella, you gotta make it happen.