It began with him quoting The Beatles and ended with him doing an a cappella Oasis song. But in between, Liam Gallagher’s debut London show did more than enough to suggest his solo career won’t just be about nostalgia.
Indeed, for a man once famously resistant to the lure of striking out on his own, Gallagher seemed more than happy to bask in the spotlight. Chants of “Liam! Liam!” filled the air at Brixton’s 1,789-capacity Electric venue, as if to emphasise that it’s all about him now.
Gallagher himself, however, was not about to forget the past. Swaggering on to the stage in front of a sign simply saying Rock’n’roll, he quoted The Beatles’ I Am The Walrus before launching into Oasis’ Rock’n’Roll Star and Morning Glory, his voice revisiting past raspiness while his band successfully recreated the brutal boogie of Oasis’ early years. His between-song banter might have been minimal, but this was Gallagher in all his monkey-walking, tambourine-shaking glory, constantly looking like he was about to offer the entire Electric crowd out for a fight, despite his declaration that he had “nothing but love” for the world.
Four more Oasis songs – D’You Know What I Mean?, Slide Away, Be Here Now and Live Forever – featured in the set, all received rapturously by an audience so boisterous they made Kasabian’s crowd look like Barry Manilow’s. But, while rumours persist that his former band might return – maybe even for Sunday’s benefit concert for the victims of the Manchester bombing – Gallagher’s new material suggests he’ll be just fine on his own.
So first single Wall Of Glass – already at over 700,000 views on YouTube after dropping yesterday – started oddly like Stereotypes-era Blur but mutated into a ballsy, boozy anthem. Paper Crown flirted with Beatlesy psychedelia and You Better Run added a glam rock stomp to proceedings. And if the odd new song fell into the Beady Eye trap of replicating the sound of Oasis without the spirit, Gallagher’s renewed sense of purpose and undimmed old school charisma saw him through. Plus, of course, a real Oasis song was never too far away.
So it ended with Be Here Now and an a cappella encore of Live Forever, with every syllable sung by the crowd to spine-tingling effect. And, with debut album As You Were due soon and a slot at Reading & Leeds Festivals to come, Liam Gallagher looks ready to fly again.