Live Review: Liam Gallagher // O2, London 07.06.24

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“Is it my imagination, or have I finally found something worth living for?” roars Liam Gallagher in the opening verse of ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’ the blistering flag-waving anthem for having a good time, the ’90s crystallised into a five-minute rock song. The crowd surges with excitement to the glam rock guitar and pounding drums. One of the defining songs of Definitely Maybe and indeed Oasis. If you shut your eyes you would be forgiven for thinking this was an Oasis gig, but this is the younger Gallagher brother’s special 30th-anniversary solo tour to celebrate the classic debut. But I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s go back to the start of the evening.

First up is Villanelle, a four-piece with a part grunge, part shoegaze sound. The big talking point is that the band’s singer and guitarist, is Gene Gallagher, the son of Liam. ‘Lazy’ is all snarling guitars with punchy drums. ‘Logos’ has a slower tempo with an overdrive guitar solo. They finish on ‘Hinge’ a bouncing driving song with neat drum fills and a similar vibe to ‘On A Rope’ by Rocket From The Crypt. Their sound is mature which bellies their age and experience and despite the size of the stage they look comfortable on it. One to watch out for.

The View follow, with singer Kyle Falconer dressed for the weather in sports shorts. They perform a typically high-energy set, with Falconer’s strong vocals a highlight. ‘Same Jeans’ starts to loud cheers from the crowd and sparks the first sing-along of the night. The highlight of the set though is ‘Superstar Tradesman’ It starts with a slower intro, which abruptly stops and the high note intro kicks in. With the set complete the band bound off-stage. 

The massive video screens which adorn both sides of the stage display 2024 and start counting down. When 1994 is reached on the screens a short compilation video featuring clips of Liam from the period is played out as the band walks on. The excellent video production continues throughout the gig, which was genuinely thrilling with lots of clever nods to Oasis history. 

As the video plays out, the opening riff for ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’ starts and the crowd goes mad. Out walks Liam Gallagher complete in mandatory parka and tambourine in hand. The quintessential image of Oasis. The song packs a heavy punch, bolstered by the three guitarists, Mike Moore, Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs and Jay Mehler. 

Liam’s vocal soars through the dazed and confused ‘Columbia’ which was dedicated to Bonehead. Lyrics of wild abandon are sung out whilst guitar effects whip around the room, sparking electricity, and the lead solo pierces through the air whilst the rhythm and bass stomp on. 

There are too many highlights in the set to mention them all. The songs are elevated from the recordings by the band, backing singers, strings on some songs and Gallagher’s excellent vocal performance. ‘Bring It On Down’ just edges ‘Fade Away’ for the punkiest moment, with its Sex Pistols guitar sounds and snarling lyrics. 

Aside from the full album, the set contains seven B-sides and one demo. It reads like a love letter to the album and the era, making the gig truly special. Some of the B-sides were played only a handful of times by Oasis, so this fourteen-night tour will eclipse the number of times they have been aired live. The pick of the deep cuts is the upbeat ‘Cloudburst’ or the goosebump-inducing ‘Half The World Away’ or the dreamlike ‘D’Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman’ it’s too hard to choose. 

For the epic ‘Whatever’ Bonehead provides the acoustic base, whilst strings overlay the melody. The crowd greets it as an old friend wraps their arms around it and gives it a good squeeze. The moment is a pure celebration, the free spirit ethos of the song is a thought of mind and way of life. The sea of bucket hats lift their arms and let themselves be washed away into the mass of the crowd. 

‘Cigarettes & Alcohol’ turns the lifted arms into pure pandemonium. The pulsating song is accompanied by video images of Gallagher drinking and smoking through the years, rock and roll is bad for your health. At the end of the song Liam declares that it’s “better than f*cking drugs”. 

The one omission is the lack of Noel Gallagher, the man who wrote all of these brilliant songs. Allegedly he was invited, to what would have been an Oasis reunion, but declined. It’s a shame as it would have made the evening even more special.

The band leaves the stage with the venue in rapture for a brief interlude. Dan McDougall, the multi-talented drummer returns and starts pounding out the intro to ‘Supersonic’ until the band enters causing another mass sing-along. The crowd and Liam competing at who can roar the lyrics the loudest. The classic Gallagher snarl is softly backed by the three backing singers who have long been a fixture of his solo tour. The live show is a well-oiled machine and has been performing to a high level for many years now. This feels like a genuine golden age for Gallagher, with his vocal performances consistently at a quality standard many thought was beyond him. 

‘Slide Away’ is almost a religious experience with every member of the crowd singing every single word like their lives depended on it.  People on shoulders, embraced with friends, couples sharing a kiss. These are the moments that fans remember and love Oasis for. Moore delivers a note-perfect solo that glides effortlessly through the air. Gallagher announces “Beware of the f*cking bumbaclarts” before launching into ‘Live Forever’. Images of Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, Sid Vicious, Brian Jones, Bob Marley, John Lennon feature on the screens, icons sadly no longer with us. Gallagher, the last great rockstar, can be described in the same breath as these legends and deservedly joins the great rock and roll pantheon. The classic Oasis set closer ‘I Am the Walrus’ finishes the night, the faster fiercer cover of the Beatles, with its psych babble lyrics and matching trippy video.

I’ve seen Oasis many times and near the end of their career, some of the gigs were genuinely dark and moody both on and off stage. The atmosphere tonight is joyous and celebratory, a stark difference with both band and crowd happy to be there. Gallagher junior’s solo success story is well documented and tonight is further evidence of how he understands his fans.

While the Oasis brand chooses to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the essential debut album with yet another re-release, Gallagher gives the people what they want. A live show of the album, complete with deep cuts, allowing it to be celebrated how it was meant to be – live and loud. It’s often been said that Noel Gallagher was the brains of Oasis, but there can be no doubt that Liam Gallagher is the heart and soul. 

However, this collection of songs transcends a mere album. The lyrics and melodies are ingrained within my brain from countless plays as a young teen in my bedroom, an adult selecting tracks on a pub jukebox, used as music to key moments at weddings and funerals and later introduced to my children. They mean a lot to me, but also to everyone within the arena.

These songs are no longer owned by Oasis, they are owned by all the fans who have taken them as soundtracks to their lives. Thank you Liam Gallagher for bringing us all together to hear them at their beautiful, majestic best. Life-affirming rock and roll, from the best frontman in the world, Definitely Maybe.

Words by Dave Holgado


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