“Let me tell you this, I’ve got the sniffles tonight so I apologise for the vocals,” croaks a bunged up Liam Gallagher on the first night of his double header at The O2. “And don’t be saying I’ve been doing the cocaine,” he swaggers defiantly: “That’s tomorrow night.”
Typical Liam. Even when a nasty cold attempts to strike him down in the face of 20,000 mad for it parka monkeys, he tells the flu to go fuck itself. To make matters worse he’s got a whopping 11 Oasis classics to get through tonight in-between cuts from his two solo albums.
If he’d attempted this two years ago it probably would have ended in disaster. Back then the snarling frontman was still finding his feet with a new band who were ramshackle at best.
Disjointed and disorganised, literally every Oasis song sounded like Liam fronting a pub band at the time. Which was a shame because the bullish frontman himself was sweating his soul into every song.
It’s a different story tonight. With a good few hundred solo gigs under his belt, his band are positioned, polished and well they’ve got Bonehead to give the Oasis songs “a bit of bollocks”.
Admittedly Liam’s vocals do sound a little hoarse on the first few numbers, but it doesn’t detract from his performance as he punches his way through ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’, the glam stomp of ‘Shockwave’ and bulldozing ‘Wall Of Glass’.
By the time Oasis classic ‘Morning Glory’ kicks off, the fuse is well and truly lit. A stunning rendition of ‘Columbia’ follows before ‘Stand By Me’ sends his sea of followers into a pogoing frenzy. Finally these classic songs again sound as widescreen as the arenas they were built for.
Like Noel Gallagher’s own post-Oasis shows, Liam also stamps his own spin on some of his former glories, most notably on a stripped back ‘Champagne Supernova’ which sees him simply backed by a piano. Hearing deeper Oasis cuts like ‘Gas Panic’ also prove to be a master stroke.
Aside from the Oasis numbers, his solo material from new album ‘Why Me? Why Not‘ stands up impressively as the likes of ‘Once’ and ‘The River’ – which sees his son Gene on drums – prove Liam’s got anthems of his own. It’s just a shame ‘One Of Us’, undoubtedly ‘Why Me?’s’ best song, doesn’t make the final cut.
When he belts out ‘Acquiesce’ towards the end, it’s hard not to pine for Noel’s brotherly backing vocals on the chorus while the lyrics: We need each other/We believe in one another, reinforce how painfully distant the Gallaghers have become.
“I’ve not been a 100 per cent tonight but neither are your fucking football teams are they? So there you go. You can’t have it all, you can’t be great all the time,” Liam deadpans before he signs off. That may be so but it’s still a solid performance from Rkid. And while the endless Twitter rants and sibling spats rumble on, we can at least continue to enjoy watching Noel and now Liam performing brilliantly, apart.
Liam Gallagher played:
‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’
‘Wall of Glass’
‘Come Back to Me’
‘Stand by Me’
‘Why Me? Why Not’
‘Roll With It’
‘Cigarettes & Alcohol’