Liam Gallagher in 3Arena, Dublin, on Sunday 24th November 2019
A cryptic entry to Liam Gallagher’s perennially entertaining Twitter feed on the second day of his 3Arena appearances: “Go easy with those LIONELS tonight LG x”
Not, as first suspected, a surprise resurgence of the favoured item of clothing of everyone in the ‘90s with a passing interest in the Manchester scene, but a gentle suggestion from the main man that the smoke flares in the crowd on night one might be a step too far of a Sunday evening.
These days Liam’s raison d’être seems less about making music than winding up his big brother on social media. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds played the same venue a year previous, a sluggish and staid affair that mixed solo material with Oasis classics (reviewed here). Liam takes a similar approach, and as with Noel’s gig, it’s the Oasis material that gets things going. Liam’s though is a far more enjoyable set, from the mass singalong to I Am The Resurrection before the band comes out, to the scorn poured on the people who leave before the final encore (“Shitebags… ‘I don’t wanna be stuck in traffic’”).
Pints are launched into the air as Rock ‘n’ Roll Star opens the show, and beer rains down for the duration of the set. Liam mouths a derisive “fuck off” and brushes a few droplets from the shoulder of his jacket – Pretty Green, no doubt – but the anger is short-lived. He spots a Duleek flag in the crowd and enquires if Big Tom’s boozer is still on the go, before bringing out Oasis guitarist Bonehead for Morning Glory.
“Do we have any old people in the house? You might remember this one then…” Columbia takes us back to ’93 and Stand By Me updates things by a few more years, before Once ignites a piss/pint exodus with a handful from Liam’s two solo records. After his son Gene has joined the band on drums for a couple of numbers, Wonderwall comes with a modification (“There are many things that I would like to say to you, but I don’t speak Irish”) and so begins the uninterrupted Oasis encore.
Acquiesce and Roll With It are jubilant run-throughs, Supersonic is dedicated to the people down the front (“you’ve got big fucking bollocks, man“), Cigarettes & Alcohol hammers the set home, but it’s a stripped-back Champagne Supernova – vocals, keys and drums – that provides the most interesting reinterpretation.
Behind the band on the front of the keyboards, is a sign that reads ‘ROCK’N’ROLL’. It’s inscribed simply, black & white, and that’s what Liam has always been about. “So you’ve heard the news then? The Oasis thing ain’t getting back together but this is the next best thing, trust me.” And he’s probably right. Between the brothers, Liam seems the more loving custodian of Oasis’ back catalogue and the man most concerned with fanning the flame of myth and legend. He’s still the biggest believer that Oasis were the best band in the world, and still of the opinion that he is probably the only true rock’n’roll star left. And as long as he believes it, that’s all that matters.