With no real alarms, but one little surprise, Liam is back and tackling all-comers at Glastonbury. In perhaps a fortuitous sign of how well recent single ‘Wall of Glass’ has been received, he is once again greeted by a significant crowd. One can’t help but think that this would not have been afforded to the defunct Beady Eye at the tail-end of their career, as they seemingly withered away on the vine of public indifference.
A frequent cry had been heard that Liam’s voice was shot and that his glory days well behind him, receding into the rear view mirror. Rested, he presents a different prospect now. His voice is nudging back – although not quite to the same force – to his Halcyon days of Oasis’s first two records.
The intro backing tape plays – just as it often used to do in his former band – the Zep-influenced ‘Fuckin’ in the Bushes’. It bristles from the PA and the sign onstage reads ‘Rock and Roll’. Quite apt, therefore, that he opens with ‘Rock n’ Roll Star’. In a festival friendly opening (are you taking notes Radiohead?), he follows up this up with a brash ‘Morning Glory’. Then, he unleashes ‘the new stuff’.
Maybe there is something amiss with the sound, but the beef of the early salvo seems to drop away as the set progresses. It is something of a pity, as it does songs such as ‘Greedy Soul’ a bit of a disservice. In spite of this, ‘Bold’, in particular sounds like a favourite-in-waiting. Gallagher appears at home on the big stage too: his iconic cocksure preening and stoic stance is in place. Truth be told, his set stays faithful to the other sets that he’s been performing on the comeback trail.
He certainly seems keen to exhume the much maligned ‘Be Here Now’ from the court of dire public opinion. Here, he plays ‘D’you Know What I Mean?’ (and if you listen to any interview with Gallagher recently, the phrase appears to be more of a tick these days than a mere catchphrase. A drinking game to his use of the expression might lead participants to hospitalisation) and the album’s title track. There’s a welcome reappearance of ‘Slide Away’, but whereas recent shows have been closed with an acapella ‘Live Forever’, this afternoon he opts to close with ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ instead. He prefaces it with a dedication to the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire and those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London. It’s sincere, but it also serves as a dig at his absent brother.
He’s not one to miss a moment, old Liam, and now he’s back and many of us will not want to miss any of his either. The place has been a bit bland without him. Welcome back, Our Kid.