Grieving Oasis fans have rarely had it better, with gigs to attend by both Noel and Liam Gallagher which together add up to a fairly comprehensive greatest hits set by their favourite defunct band. It’s the belated emergence of Liam as a solo act, however, that looks and sounds the most like the good old days.
At 45, he hasn’t changed, still attacking his microphone as though he hasn’t eaten in weeks. The original Man’s Not Hot, his idea of showmanship was putting up the hood of his big coat, beneath which he stared the adoring crowd down relentlessly. Where once he held a tambourine, this evening he brandished maracas with menace.
After his underwhelming attempt to drag out his band career with Beady Eye, having his own name on the side of the van suits a singer who always had the pride and self-belief to take the spotlight alone. While his solo album, As You Were, is far from a classic – from album three onwards, Oasis fans have been willing each new album to be better than it actually is – it’s good enough to get the public believing in him again too.
He’s outselling big brother for the first time thanks to powerful new songs such as Wall of Glass, a pounding wall of sound here, and the galloping aggression of You Better Run. Universal Gleam, with its horn section, cellist and almost gospel finale, was enough sonic adventurousness for one night.
For he wasn’t too proud to give the crowd what they really wanted – even if that meant royalty payments to his estranged brother – and that was plenty of Oasis songs. Obvious selections such as Rock ‘n’ Roll Star (essentially his theme tune) and Wonderwall were cut with well chosen reminders that Rockin’ Chair was a great B-side and Be Here Now (the song) was a monster.
He sang flat on Paper Crown and left the girls to the high notes of Live Forever, but the take home message was that this was a rock giant returning at close to full power. By the time he hits Finsbury Park next summer, he’ll be unstoppable.
June 29, Finsbury Park, N4 (0844 844 0444, festivalrepublic.com/liamgallagher)