LIVE: Liam Gallagher | The Arena, Birmingham | #WhyMeWhyNot
Noel Gallagher recently claimed that he’s still obsessed with writing the greatest song ever, a fascinating insight into the creative process of one of rock music’s most treasured songwriters. Brother Liam’s ambitions are slightly less lofty, not because he has grown apathetic but more so because he’s absolutely convinced the greatest songs of all time have already been written.
That unwavering belief was evident in his Birmingham show which took place this week. Aa raucous ride down memory lane that largely ignores LG’s impressive body of solo work in favour of a string of Oasis classics.
Swaggering on stage to the refrain of ‘Fuckin’ in the Bushes’, the unmistakable rock n’ roll star quickly makes his intentions clear by rattling through the treasured classic of the same name. This is followed by a quick run through of some of his standout solo tunes, with the emotionally stark ‘Paper Crown’ getting its first airing on this tour. But LG, always so attuned to the wants of his adoring audience, rapidly resumes his nostalgic onslaught, bringing out former Oasis guitarist Bonehead for renditions of ‘Morning Glory’, ‘Colombia’ and ‘Stand By Me’.
By this point, it’s clear to see that Gallagher is in peak form. Though he is snarling his way through most of the setlist, his vocals are precise and the unmatched stage presence which made him the poster boy of Cool Britannia is clear for all to see. Few artists have the ability to do so little on stage and still captivate their audience to the extent Gallagher does, a rare talent that will almost certainly not be matched by any of today’s young pretenders.
Another run-through of solo tunes (including album standouts ‘Once’ and ‘Be Still’) is followed by the re-emergence of Bonehead for ‘Gas Panic!’ and the iconic ‘Wonderwall’. But things weren’t done there. After a brief saunter off stage, the parka-donning frontman is back for a remarkable encore that begins with ‘Acquiesce’ (performed for the first time without Noel) and ends on the immortal ‘Champagne Supernova’.
Just when the crowd thought the night was finished, the ever-unpredictable Gallagher returned to tell everyone that the show wasn’t over ‘until I say it’s f***ing over’ before ending on ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’. And there we had it. 20 songs of timeless rock and roll and a declarative reminder that, over 20 years on from when Oasis first arrived on the scene, LG is still the best frontman around.