Live Report: Liam Gallagher – O2 Arena, London

Oasis icon continues his determined solo quest…

“Liam. Liam. Liam”, tonight the crowd frenzy knows no bounds… 

Liam Gallagher’s second London arena show marks a whole new exuberant chapter for the singer and his band. The enthusiastic chanting continues to feature throughout this spectacular, gargantuan rock and roll extravaganza.

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As a glorious indicator of his status the freshly announced Heaton Park show scheduled for June next year sold out in less than twenty-four hours. There is no doubt that the former Oasis frontman’s reign is secure, and his extreme popularity shows no signs of slowing, let alone confining itself by age, country or culture.

The audience this evening is a genuinely diverse blend of admirers. Even young children are seen in the crowd.

Yes, he does have a cold, and he is sounding hoarse at times. But he works incredibly hard, the will is there, plus there are effective ways to handle the sniffles, and how it can affect the voice.

His decision to transpose individual lines with something that sounds like an octave at times, making it lower and smoother to sing, works. But ultimately, tonight also looks set to be well and truly focused around Oasis repertoire anyway, and if anyone knows how to provide belters in distinct fashion, it is Liam.

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Having made sure everyone is mad for it after ‘Fuckin’ In the Bushes’, he launches straight into the rollicking and electrifying ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’, the glam-rock stomping track ‘Shockwave’ and ‘Halo’ both follow suit, ‘Wall of Glass’ from his debut ‘As You Were’ and the Beatles-like ‘Come Back to Me’. It is a hugely promising build-up.

“Do we have any old people in the house?”, he enquires, a mesmeric version of ‘Columbia’ follows before he delves into the anthemic ‘Stand By Me’, and the crowd responds by activating the torch function on their mobile phones.

Well sprinkled across the entire performance, the set also comprises Oasis belters such as the epic and dreamy ‘Morning Glory’. Having three guitarists on stage for all Oasis tracks just means that riffs are spot on and solos are delivered with attitude and precision, sounding remarkably close to the original versions – only better.

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The enticing ‘Once’ and Beatles-like ’Why Me? Why Not.’ fuel the arena with their infectious sonics. A few bars into ‘Gone’, it becomes clear things aren’t right, and making the decision to abort it he asks, “Shall we just skip to the Oasis tunes or what!?” Somehow, the crowd doesn’t have too much of a problem with that.

Having left the stage, he returns with the parka hood pulled up, accompanied by some renewed strength. The force is still with him as are the instrumentals. There is time for an atmospheric rendition of ‘Gas Panic’ and ‘Wonderwall’.

“You sound like you are in a good voice”, the compliment follows a return for a first encore. It is time for ‘Acquiesce’, ‘Roll With It’, ‘Supersonic’ with crowd-led choir support during ‘Champagne Supernova’, and to see him return for a second encore really is ultra-special, and tonight ‘Let There Be Love’ is a nickname for ‘Cigarettes & Alcohol’.

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One achievement out of several, Liam Gallagher is known for speaking out about his disdain for celebrity, and despite the meteoric nature and scale of his own career, he has managed to refrain from being part of the culture, it just isn’t for him, and he refuses to be associated with it.

Instead, his continued quest to reclaim what truly belongs to him, but to do so on his terms, just goes on and on, and we are there with him all the way – one hundred percent.

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Words: Susan Hansen
Photography: Sam Huddleston

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