Live Report: Liam Gallagher – Royal Albert Hall, London


Liam Gallagher is more than a rock ‘n’ roll singer. He has a special way of connecting with big crowds of people. It’s a relationship built on a sense of belonging, and that connection becomes vital at the live shows. Creating a people’s movement of sorts, the gift is his.

The evening sunset at South Kensington fits tonight’s live performance, as mild conditions support all-around positive vibes ahead of Gallagher’s show for Teenage Cancer Trust. Not that positive vibes has been a rare find at the former Oasis frontman’s live shows.

Inside the Royal Albert Hall the atmosphere is one of buzzing warmth coupled with a high level of anticipation. Yet, somehow, this concert seems more intense, rawer emotionally than they usually tend to come. Perhaps, some of this is down to the venue, its history and association, or the charity cause itself.

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What seems as likely though, is that a part of the emotional intensity comes from the shocking news about Foo Fighters drummer, Taylor Hawkins’ death, which hit the music world with tornado shock force, leading the singer to tweet about it earlier in the day.

With an evolving setlist, the selection of songs for this evening still looks to the future, however. Gallagher is due to release his third studio record in May, and tonight the crowd gets to hear title track ‘C’mon You Know’ for the first time.

“Beautiful People, come out to play. Brothers and sisters, it’s time. So let’s start living, be thankful and giving, we’re only here for a short while” he sings. An infectious, melodic stomper, it offers echoes of The Who and The Rolling Stones. The sound is one of today, it has a modern, current ring to it, and if the crowd goes quiet, everyone clearly continues to pay attention.

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Notably, “Leeamm, Leeamm, Leeamm” is repeated throughout the show. It marks the sound of fulfilled voices in the crowd. Chanted nicely in unison, the trick has been part of the routine for some time now, fully adopted as an integral gig ingredient, no matter where the frontman performs.

Having kept quiet about Beady Eye, there is a fascinating twist to this gig tale, when ‘Bring the Light’ from 2011’s album project ‘Different Gear, Still Speeding’ is given a fresh lease of life. The song is catchy and represents an appropriate match for the show. To hold back these songs is a shame, and hopefully there will be opportunities to experience more BE material with the current band setup, especially as they sound vibrant and together.

Highlights include ‘Greedy Soul’, ‘Slide Away’, ‘Columbia’, ‘The River’ with Gene Gallagher on drums, and ‘Wonderwall’. The delivery of ‘Live Forever’ is a tender moment. “I dedicate this last song to the one and only Taylor fucking Hawkins,” he declares, before adding a “This is for you, brother.” A thoughtful gesture, the emotion stays in the room.

Once again, the singer has led a room of passionate people, so they can share a spectacular moment, which is no small thing. It has been another biblical encounter with Liam Gallagher and the sound of his bold, heartfelt, enticing make of music.

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Words: Susan Hansen

Photography: Jordan Hughes

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