Festival Hall, Melbourne VIC
January 5th, 2018
Support – SSHH
A musical phenomenon which cut across all shapes, sizes, boundaries and classes, Oasis is one of the last generation-defining rock acts of modern times. A swirl of ruthless ambition and quirky Britishness, the significance the Gallagher brothers had on all things English in the 90’s was something no other group since the Beatles had achieved. Millions of record sales and tabloid sensations aside, they always drew a crowd. 2.5 million Brits attempting to get tickets to one show can’t be wrong.
Yarning about what it’s like to be young and broke growing up in Manchester, Noel and Liam were the poster boys for Mancurian life. Stylish and confident, incredibly real and couldn’t give two fucks about anyone else. But, one of their distinct features was just how important their music was. Influential, brash and distinctive, their tracks were hits. Radio-friendly enough, and simple to memorise, these classic pub sing-alongs have even recently re-entered the British charts.
As one half of one of the most treasured acts in British history, Liam Gallagher returned to Melbourne’s Festival Hall on Friday night to politely remind us he doesn’t need Noel to succeed anymore.
Kick-starting the night in style, London-based duo SSHH leaped through a chaotic opening presentation. Explosive, raucous and genre defying, pint-sized singer Sshh Liquz controlled the crowd with absolute ease. A delight for all senses, you would be forgiven for not noticing the rock royalty that is guitarist Zak Starkey. Drummer for Oasis and The Who, Starkey is also well known due to his famous father Ringo Starr. Seductive and seedy, the duos set was flawless and pure class. If you haven’t heard of them before, do yourself a favour.
After a brief intermission, Liam swaggered on stage with his beautifully ballsy strut and trademark parka, applauding the applause. Launching into ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’, there is no denying he is exactly that. With no backdrop or accompanying visuals, just the occasional strobe, Liam stood entrenched to his spot, staring down the frenzied crowd below. Full of raw power and energy, this unadulterated hit of yesteryear not only sprung around the room but warmed everyone’s vocals. Without missing a beat, ‘Morning Glory’ followed before a swathe of tunes from the new album, As You Were.
Sounding more like (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? than ever before, ‘Greedy Soul’ and ‘Wall of Glass’ unsurprisingly soar live. Both perfectly crafted earworms, and guaranteed sensations wherever played, the pairs trademark wailing harmonicas and twangy plucked guitars simply melt when performed loud.
Shining a light on Liam’s softer more refined side, ‘Paper Crown’, ‘Bold’ and ‘For What It’s Worth’ follow. As fragile as they are refreshing, Gallagher wistfully croons about his loneliness, constant vulnerability and frequent misunderstandings, whilst tackling his emotional growth and inner voices.
In hopes of pleasing the older generation, Gallagher weaved classics ‘I’m Outta Time’ and ‘Slide Away’ in between new material, as well as a blistering rendition of ‘Some Might Say’. That being said, whilst As You Were may still be fresh to most, its tracks sound closer to an Oasis back catalogue than anything else before it.
To end the night, ‘Live Forever’ and ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’ draw out the largest karaoke moments, before delivering a final spiritual encore of (naturally) ‘Wonderwall’. And whilst many may have enjoyed this anthemic masterpiece through their phone, the flurry of camera lights and joyous harmonies that filled the hall was an ethereal experience to say the least.
And just like that, the Mancunian rock star exists stage left. With the house lights now on, it’s only fitting that Sid Vicious’s ‘My Way’ blares over the speakers, as “Liam! Liam!” chants move with the flooding crowds.
It may have been nine years since their rather public and messy breakup but tonight proved people still love a Gallagher. Even if the recently reported ‘burying of the hatchet’ with brother Noel is true, you must try to see it for what it’s worth (pardon the pun). Right now, we have two wickedly gifted artists, releasing and touring more than when they did together. It’s just a shame they both support Manchester City.