Liam Gallagher makes a triumphant return to his hometown (Review)

Liam Gallagher
Manchester Ritz

30/05/2017

10/10

Liam Gallagher takes to the stage, (c) Philip Giouras @ The Perfect Tempo

Liam Gallagher takes to the stage, (c) Philip Giouras @ The Perfect Tempo

 

Liam Gallagher showcased his new album As You Were alongside some Oasis classics as he performed a very special homecoming show, we look back on a very emotional night.

It’s fair to say Liam’s comeback gig on Tuesday night at the Ritz was significant for many different reasons, not only was it the chance to finally shine as a solo artist like his older brother and former Oasis bandmate Noel, it was a significant night for Manchester as the first major gig since the tragic events of the bombing at the Ariana Grande concert just the week before, it’s fair to say there was an atmosphere around the venue but it was clear everyone was rooting for Liam, desperately hoping for him to succeed and boy did he!

 

The stage was stripped back, a few lights, a massive sign in the corner that simply read ‘Rock N Roll’ but more poignantly in front of the drum kit was 22 candles (which were lit at the start of the performance), it was the first of many touching tributes that night to those that lost their lives. It was fair to say the crowd were more than excited for his return, the crowd sang enthusiastically to ‘I Am The Resurrection’ by The Stone Roses before Liam arrived to the stage, so loud in fact you’d think from outside the roses were actually playing the venue, just after, the lights strobed out across the tiny room as “Fucking in the bushes” is played over the PA, Liam goes on stage, the first notes of “Rock N Roll Star” blare out and the room erupts.

22 Candles light the stage in memory of those that lost their lives, (c) Philip Giouras @ The Perfect Tempo

22 Candles light the stage in memory of those that lost their lives, (c) Philip Giouras @ The Perfect Tempo

Any worries that Liam had lost his edge or talent were immediately out of the window, RNR star was somehow more vicious than it was over 30 years ago on it’s release, it has an instant energy that gets the crowd of all ages going, keeping the Oasis faithful on side Liam launches into a raucous rendition of ‘Morning Glory’ which has the whole crowd screaming “wake up, wake up” alongside an energetic Liam, from just how passionate the room is it’s clear to see how much Oasis still means to Manchester and music fans.

Tonight however as you may have guessed from the drum kit is all about Liam striking out on his own, premiering his new album, the aptly titled ‘As You Were’, what happens next is we unbelievably get four new songs in a row, it’s a bold move as the entire crowd have no idea on what they are about to hear, what’s immediately clear however is just how good they sound, they could easily have been mistaken for early Oasis styled songs, not just that but without the loud crowd singing every single word you can tell just how strong Liam’s voice still is, it’s clear to see he’s taking his comeback very seriously.

Of the new material ‘Greedy Soul’ was a great start, it has a lot of energy and an infectious guitar solo with catchy chorus, I can’t wait for the studio version to appear, Liam as he says has definitely got ‘the Midas touch’, next up was the first single ‘Wall Of Glass’ which hopefully you have heard by now, if not check it out below, any fears that his new material wouldn’t be successful I believe has been put to rest by this fantastic return to form, it’s fair to say this is Rock ’n’ Roll in it’s purest form, it’s an angry song and it’s surely destined to be this year’s rock anthem.

‘Bold’ was premiered all the way back in 2015 in a pub in Ireland, it’s fair to say it’s a slower song, not quite a ballad but it’s definitely got some kick and power behind it, it’s closing moments as Liam chants ‘Lay it on me’ immediately had the crowd hooked, clapping along to the beat, playing so much new material was definitely a bold move but from the reaction the songs are getting it was the right one to make.

‘Paper Crown’ see’s Liam goes acoustic, it’s a throwback to the style of ‘Wonderwall’ but for me is much more sophisticated, it highlights the variety we can expect on the album, Liam could have gone all out rock but he shows even the slower numbers are immediately pleasing, after that it was time for some more old classics and ‘Do You Know What I Mean’ was the perfect way to amp the crowd right back up, like promised in the NME interview he played the full album version to the adoring crowd, ‘Slide Away’ followed and it was clear he was aiming his Oasis songs purely at the hardcore, the fans that haven’t heard these songs in years due to Noel’s exclusions, it’s fair to say those hoping for the more rock styled songs will be pleased if they catch Liam live this year.

Liam turned back to new songs, “I Get By” is another rock song, not as memorable on first listen but hopefully will sound stronger when we get to hear it properly, “You Better Run” sounds like good old classic Rolling Stones, it has a thumping beat it rides along and is sure to be a standout, the final new song of the evening was one of my favourites “Universal Gleam” it certainly has that classic crowd bonding energy of anthems such as “Morning Glory” and “DLBIA” it’s a perfect mix of rock song and crowd sing along ballad.

The finale however was something else entirely, fans were treated to a mini reunion of sorts as former Oasis guitarist Bonehead came to the stage to perform ‘Be Here Now’ with Liam, a great moment which drew back memories of the band back in the day, they sounded loud and dangerous just like when they started out, a fitting way to celebrate 30 years of the album.

Bonehead (far left) joins Liam for 'Be Here Now' (c) Philip Giouras @ The Perfect Tempo

Bonehead (far left) joins Liam for 'Be Here Now' (c) Philip Giouras @ The Perfect Tempo

 

The encore however was the most special moment of the night, I uploaded it onto our YouTube page earlier in the week and it’s clear to see from the comments and the fact it’s quickly became our most viewed video ever! (see it below) just how much it meant to the city of Manchester, Liam decided to comeback on to the stage completely solo for an a cappella rendition of classic “Live Forever”, he didn’t even sing a note before the crowd spontaneously shouted out chants of “for the 22 stand up”, when he did sing however, I couldn’t spot a single person that wasn’t emotionally moved by the performance, his voice was stunning and truly made the night magical, a truly fitting tribute to those that lost their lives.

Liam had a lot riding on the night, I’m delighted to inform you all however that Liam Gallagher is back and really is sounding better than ever!

Setlist