In the dead of summer in 1971, the template for charity concerts was built. In New York's own Madison Square Garden, two concerts featuring legendary musicians took place. Bob Dylan, Billy Preston, Eric Clapton, and half of The Beatles staged a one-of-a-kind event: a fundraiser for the impoverished children of Bangladesh.
For the first time since the band's last tour in 1966 and their informal breakup a few years later, two Beatles performed together on stage. George Harrison and Ringo Starr assembled one of the most impressive musical lineups ever. Not in any effort to spite former bandmates John Lennon or Paul McCartney, rather in an effort to bring global attention to what the people of Bangladesh were experiencing.
Now roughly 45 years later, charity concerts happen more frequently. Farm-Aid and Stand Up 2 Cancer hold frequent events to raise money for causes. Numerous localized gigs happen as well. And while the Bangladesh concert did what it set out to do, it didn't truly reunite the Beatles.
After last week's terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, we may see a more modern British band reunite.
Rumors are swirling that at an upcoming benefit show for victims of the Manchester bombing the band Oasis will reunite. More specifically, brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher will appear on stage together and not (fingers crossed) get into a teenage-like shouting match. If you're familiar at all with the band, you know the Gallaghers' relationship with one another is about as icy as Donald Trump's relationship with the media.
The drama between Noel and Liam has been well documented over the years. The brothers often acted more like petty co-workers, constantly undercutting the other's on-stage performance or lack thereof. Because of the failures in their relationship, Oasis permanently split up in 2009.
For us in America, Oasis is little more than an afterthought as a band we listened to in the 90s. In the U.K., Oasis was larger than life. When their seminal album (What's The Story) Morning Glory? was released in 1995, it became the fastest-selling album of all time in Great Britain. You'll remember songs like Wonderwall and Champagne Supernova, but those weren't even the biggest hits for the band overseas. Along with Stone Roses and Blur, Oasis defined Brit-rock music in the 90s.
The Manchester benefit concert will have Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, U2, and Coldplay performing. For music fans in England, however, those acts won't compare to the possibility of seeing Oasis perform in all their glory for the first time in 8 years.
If you need proof of the English love of Oasis, look no further than a crowd erupting in song at a memorial days after the Manchester bombing, singing the aptly named "Don't Look Back in Anger." Clear evidence that music heals, especially in a unique pain where fans of music were specifically attacked. In a world where rage and hatred burn so brightly, even a symbolic decision to move forward with love is progress.
Then, just a few days ago, Liam Gallagher himself went on stage in Manchester to perform, ending his concert with a moving acapella rendition of Oasis' first hit single "Live Forever". Again, symbolism is not lost on tragedies that threaten to define us.
We'll wait to see if Oasis does reunite on stage in an effort of goodwill and national healing. If not, perhaps at least one of the Gallagher brothers will make an appearance, singing the songs we know so well, songs that offer if nothing else an escape to someplace not too far away where nail bombs don't exist. A place where terrorism is left for movies, and never seen in real life. A place where music does what only music can do- bind wounds where no bandage can touch.
And if the concert is absent any Brit rockers such as Oasis, it will be fine. U2 and Ariana Grande will put on a spectacular show, just like George Harrison and Ringo Starr and Bob Dylan did decades ago. But what a chance the Gallaghers have to not only help soothe the pain but offer hope that even bid differences can be overcome for good. Definitely. Well, definitely maybe.