Liam Gallagher is one of Manchester’s favourite sons, and when he made his return to the city’s arena on Saturday night he put in a performance to justify every good word said about him since he swaggered back into our eyes and ears.
For a city that has given the world so many great bands, there is a challenge to stand the test of time, but when Gallagher appears onto the Manchester Arena stage, a capacity crowd is taken back to 1994 with opener Rock N Roll Star. Liam is a family man, sibling feud aside, and the song is dedicated to his Mother who’s in attendance. Morning Glory is next, and any beer still left from before his entrance is flying end over end above thousands of aspirers going entirely mad fer it belting the tune back word for word. It’s the same response for Greedy Soul, too, the first track to appear from his debut solo album As You Were, the statement that has dominated conversation around Liam for the majority of the year.
A fistful of tracks from the album follow, Paper Crown stands out, while For What It’s Worth provides a vocal test from the local lad, one passed with flying colours. In truth, nobody in the crowd would mutter if he howled like a dying dog, his aura fills the arena and I found myself standing and simply taking in the fact I was 15 yards away from a true icon.
Rockin’ Chair is his brothers’ creation and a point towards where Noel would stand during the track puts a lump in the throat. But there’s a job to do, and with Some Might Say, Slide Away and D’ya Know What I Mean?, Liam grabs Oasis by the horns and has the arena bouncing. Then comes a curveball in the shape of I’m Outta Time, only Glasgow elsewhere has heard that one this time around.
You Better Run is punchy and 100% Liam, its responded to like its’ been out for years. Universal Gleam is chance for a breather, it’s red hot inside those parkas. Regardless, Liam has his hood up, like the mischievous 16-year old that he still is inside.
Be Here Now was probably the pick of his set at Benicassim earlier in the year, and it closes the main part of the set after Supersonic brings out the best in those wannabe Gallaghers that took over North Manchester earlier in the evening. Because who wouldn’t wanna be Liam Gallagher? Even multiple world champion Ricky Hatton, swamped in the concourse for photos before the gig, would quite like the idea.
“Bonehead?!” Yep, that’s Bonehead. Paul Arthurs strolled onto the stage having played part in the Oasis catalogue to such an extent he needn’t have even brought his guitar to earn the reception he did from the Mancunian crowd. Cigarettes and Alcohol is another rowdy number, it’s the last chance for a bounce because it’s followed by a pair of classics in the form of Wonderwall and Live Forever. The latter of which sees the screens either side of the stage light up with the number 22, it is important to be transfixed on those on stage, but equally as important to cling to those you’ve come with – you just never know.
It was a night that combined both a celebration of tracks from years gone by but a chance to observe a singer at the height of his powers. It has been an incredible year for Liam Gallagher, and with a huge date down the road at Old Trafford next Summer, and festival dates appearing all the time, there is no chance he’s going anywhere quietly – and we’re all better off for it.