Review - Liam Gallagher at Arena Birmingham
For a while around the start of this decade, it seemed unimaginable that Liam Gallagher would return to selling out arenas in seconds and headlining the stages he walked out onto during Oasis' peak.
Fast forward a few years and switch geographic band rivalries for sibling rivalry and you've got hype around British indie heavyweights which has been missing for some considerable time.
While the Midland’s was recovering from a deluge of snow unparalleled in recent years, those lucky enough to have secured a ticket for, Liam's As You Were gig in the second city were treated to a masterclass in frontman showmanship nestled among a smattering of new tracks and some of the most iconic alternative anthems of a generation.
Along for the ride at Arena Birmingham was Trampolene and Rat Boy.
The former was last seen inside the venue introducing The Libertines and as people poured into the area treated fans to short burst of rock and roll intersected with prose while Ray Bot brought a more electronic and hip-hop influenced feel to proceedings.
Ahead of Gallagher’s arrival, there was a huge sense of anticipation buzzing around the arena, with a bit of menace and danger also in the air.
As the lights dropped and intro track *****’ In The Bushes rang out, Gallagher walked out to an ovation which wouldn't have been out of place 20 years ago.
And as the track faded, the band launched into Oasis classic Rock 'n' Roll Star and the venue exploded into a sea of bouncing fans, arms aloft.
Morning Glory following, by which time a blue smoke flare had been set off with Gallagher saying “at least you’ve got the colour right, nice and lively, that’s how we like it.”
Tuesday night wasn’t entirely an all-out Oasis nostalgia-fest.
Yes, the ‘pushing 40’ “parker monkeys” were out in full force and lapping up the Oasis hits but the set also had a healthy dose of tracks from Liam's solo album.
Greedy Soul was the first outing and recent single Wall of Glass quickly Followed with all of the new material fitting perfectly around songs more familiar to millions.
Flanked by musicians who spent most of the night lurking in the shadows, Liam prowled around the stage throughout the set wearing a long Stone Island jacket and was rarely seen without maracas or a tambourine in his hands.
Between songs, football-esque chants of “Liam, Liam” rang out around the venue, only for the frontman to jokingly reply, “Bunch of ******* moaning *****, that's what you are.”
Liam’s set wasn’t all ’balls to the wall’ anthems and distorted guitars, with new tracks Paper Crown and For What It’s Worth slowing the tempo.
However, seconds after asking “Do We have any parker monkeys in the house? This one’s for you”, the venue exploded back into life for Some Might Say.
Glorious renditions of Supersonic and Be Here Now ended the set before the band returned for an encore or Cigarettes & Alcohol and a stripped back version of Live Forever.
Returning to the stage for a second time, Liam addressed the Birmingham crowd, saying “Thanks for paying attention and not getting your cameras out. Real Emotion. Here’s that **** tune Wonderwall.”
The ultimate question remains, would tonight have been any better with a second Gallagher. Honestly, no.
It’s a fair assumption a lot of those inside Arena Birmingham will be back in May for the other half.
However, it's harder to imagine anyone doing it any better or it being more enjoyable.
Liam Gallagher played:
Rock 'n' Roll Star
Wall of Glass
For What It's Worth
Some Might Say
Come Back to Me
You Better Run
Be Here Now
Cigarettes & Alcohol
Photos by David Jackson