Review: Liam Gallagher @ Co-op Live Arena Manchester

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Liam Gallagher // Co-op Live Manchester // 15 June

Love him or hate him, it is indisputable that Liam Gallagher is an icon of the Mancunion music scene: as frontman of Oasis, LG was a crucial aspect of how good those early records sounded, and he’s back in his hometown giving it large with a performance of Oasis’ debut, Definitely Maybe.

Before we even touch on LG, something must be said about the room housing the parka tonight: despite some considerable difficulties opening the place, tonight it is looking something more like the finished article. Travel from the centre of town is easy, and the gigantic black monolith is mere minutes from the Etihad Campus tram stop – they have numerous stewards in place, directing people through the various corridors and staircases. Despite the astronomical bar prices (£8.95 for a Guinness!!), the place seems to be in working order: the arena space is absolutely gargantuan, and the room is packed out for their homecoming hero. 

There is a large calendar filling the screens before Liam’s arrival, which counts down the years until it hits 1994, to great cheers from the crowd. The stage is filled with large plants, flamingos, huge 90’s style TVs, all of which evoke both the 1990s and the Definitely Maybe album cover. There is also a massive, inflatable globe hanging above our protagonist, again with a knowing nod to the record cover. All this, plus Liam’s band fill the enormous Co-op stage nicely, and before long the man himself emerges, wearing a coat zipped up all the way to the top, wielding a pair of maracas. Vintage LG. 

He kicks off in style, and ‘Rock N Roll Star’ as the opener sends his adoring crowd into raptures in minute one. ‘Colombia’ (with the added verse from the Sawmill demo) is a treat, and ‘Shakermaker’ is again, huge. It is indisputable how good this record is, each cut is fantastic and performed with aplomb by our Liam. He dips into Oasis deep-cuts from the period, bringing out tunes like ‘Cloudburst’, ‘Lock All The Doors’ (an Oasis demo used by Noel, but LG brought his own charm to the piece), and plenty more.

Every aspect of this works to a tee – with the right session musicians and backing vocalists, it is easy enough to replace pretty much every aspect of Oasis, except for Liam. His signature tones are so unique to him, and that period, that anyone else blasting these tunes just doesn’t quite cut it: LG is in fine voice tonight too, the man is clearly taking care of the pipes in middle age, and it has a superb effect on the performance. Not to mention the crowd too, who are all clearly Oasis maniacs, people who know every syllable of every song, b-side and demo from this period: it makes for an incendiary show, with 23,500 people belting out the words. 

Liam dedicates ‘Half The World Away’ to his “little brother”, and when even taking on numbers that feature Noel’s vocals, Liam absolutely soars. This is quite possibly the best Liam has sounded since the Definitely Maybe days, and even singing the Noel parts in ‘Slide Away’ and ‘Married With Children’, Liam seriously pulls it off. An encore of ‘Supersonic’, ‘Slide Away’ and ‘Live Forever’ with a second encore of just ‘I Am The Walrus’ is just pure Oasis. The DM 30th Anniversary tour is simply fantastic.

Words: Charlie Brock

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