- 25 Nov 19
Paul Nolan was on-hand as the Oasis singer turned in a powerful set of solo material and Oasis classics.
Twenty-three years ago this month, Liam Gallagher was arrested for coke possession whilst wandering the streets of London at dawn. It had been a busy evening – earlier, he walked onstage at the Q awards to accept a gong on Oasis' behalf, pausing only to tap some fag ash on Mick Jagger's head.
Happily, after signing autographs for the arresting officers, Liam escaped with a caution. Of course, it was but one in a series of wild controversies that marked the frontman's time in Oasis: there was the blazing, drunken row with Noel – the first of countless such episodes – after Liam and the other band members were chucked off a ferry to Holland (a recording of which became a hit single); the punch-up in a Munich nightclub that resulted in Liam losing several teeth after he kicked a police officer in the ribs; the drunken brawl with Paul Gascoigne in the Groucho that concluded with Liam setting off a fire extinguisher in Gascoigne's face.
That's just a whistlestop tour of the highlights. And still it continues: a subplot to Gallagher's weekend in Dublin had been Robbie Williams' reported attempts to set up celebrity boxing match with the singer after approaching promoter Eddie Hearn. You could say Liam is one of the last of the true rock stars – a man whom, like Axl Rose, can scarcely set foot outside his front door without prompting a scandal of some description.
So just how exactly does he sound in 2019? One thing's for sure – he is totally adored by the sell-out 3Arena crowd. There is a euphoric atmosphere well before showtime, with mass singalongs to both 'I Am The Resurrection' and 'Town Called Malice'. When the band eventually arrive, spotlit and over-amplified, Liam casually strolls to the corner of the stage, prompting an instant standing ovation on the balcony.
The singalong-friendly melody of the opening number, Oasis' 'Rock 'N' Roll Star', is so strong that it can even sustain quirks such as pain threshold volume, mindless riffing and Liam's yelped vocals. Amidst the chaos, you end asking yourself, 'Fuck is that Bonehead on guitar?!' Indeed it is: the ex-Oasis man now older, greyer and – like Liam – still wearing the same rain mac he sported 25 years ago.
The band then settle in for a selection of tracks from Liam's solo albums. Each song gets a spirited reception, even though every gem like 'Wall Of Glass' is matched by a dud like 'Shockwave'. No matter – Bonehead's soon back for another run of Oasis material. It all sounds awesome, no more so than Definitely Maybe deep cut 'Columbia', a genuinely visionary mix of Stones-style raucous rock and Madchester dance grooves.
Unsurprisingly, the crowd has gone completely apeshit, with someone even setting off a flare. Having given the guilty party a stern talking to, Liam can only roll his eyes when someone duly sets offer another during the next song. The singer has also been unhappy with his monitors throughout the evening, which prompts him to call a halt to 'Wonderwall' after the first few lines.
Sound problems sorted, the band recommence the tune, which is the cue for another mass singalong. There are similar scenes during the Oasis-only encore, the highlight of which is a blistering 'Supersonic'. 'Champagne Supernova' – arguably Oasis' greatest song – is performed in a stripped-down, keyboards-and-drums version, which is fine but nowhere near as powerful as the soaring original.
Nonetheless, Liam ultimately departs to deafening cheers in a town where he's always celebrated like one of our own. As you were, then.