In 1995, at the height of “Britpop,” there was no rivalry quite like that of Blur and Oasis. Now, those one-time best-of-enemies have done the unimaginable with their respective frontmen dueting on stage.
Blur’s frontman Damon Albarn and guitarist Graham Coxon teamed-up on the weekend with Oasis’ erstwhile singer Noel Gallagher to perform “Tender,” a gospel-tinged single from Blur’s 1999 album “13.” Paul Weller, a longtime friend and collaborator with Gallagher, filled in on the drums.
The big moment came at precisely the right place, and for the right occasion. Albarn and Gallagher used the platform of London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall, for the Teenage Cancer Trust charity concerts for which Gallagher has served as curator this year.
Back in 1995, Oasis vs Blur took their bad blood to another level when Blur moved their single “Country House” into the same release day as Oasis’ “Roll With It”. The so-called “Battle of Britpop” was a gauntlet throw-down which defined an era, galvanizing the northerners (the Oasis camp) to out-buy their rivals in the country’s south (the Blur camp). Oasis vs Blur became a shorthand for the battle of working class vs middle class Britain. Blur won that particular fight — just — shifting 274,000 copies to Oasis’ 216,000.
While Albarn and Gallagher have clearly buried the hatchet, the same can’t be said for Gallagher’s relationship with his brother, Liam. The brothers have endured numerous bust-ups in the recent years, and the pair aren’t on speaking terms anymore. On the basis of Saturday night’s showing, it’s not inconceivable to imagine, 20 years from now, the Gallaghers might mend bridges given the right stage.