Why aye me? Why aye not?: Review of Liam Gallagher @ Utilita Arena

Being born in 1999 I was slightly late for the battle of Britpop that stormed the 90s. I never grew up listening to Oasis. Of course, I knew the lyrics to “Don’t Look Back In Anger and “Wonderwall, but I had no idea who the Gallagher’s were until my late teens when I watched the documentary Oasis: Supersonic (2016). That’s when I understood why these working-class brothers from Manchester had managed to dominate the 90s music scene and headline festivals across the world. I am not your typical Liam Gallagher fan. I don’t own a parka and I don’t think I could rock a bucket hat; however, I love Liam Gallagher. He’s marmite I’ll admit but he’s charismatic. He does not care about what people think of him, and I think in a day and age where so many young people care about the opinions of others it’s a relief to see a self-assured artist making a fierce comeback. 

         I arrived at the Utilita arena hiding behind my 6ft Dad surrounded by hard core Oasis fans wearing Pretty Green head to toe and rocking haircuts which Liam has styled through the ages. I’ve seen Liam before at Manchester’s Old Trafford and the atmosphere felt completely different this time. The crowd was diverse in age, there was kids as young as four in the crowd which was a stark contrast to the home crowd in Manchester which appeared to be primarily 18+. The gig at Old Trafford was incredible, however it was badly organised. There were girls trying to jump barbed wire fencing to get closer to the stage, security was virtually non-existent and after the gig finished there was thousands of people trying to shove onto one Metro carriage. This time the entire gig seemed to be polished. 

         The supporting acts Twisted Wheel and DMA’s fitted perfectly with Liam’s brand. I’d never heard of either of the bands before, but they set the atmosphere hours before Liam hit the stage. Drinks were being hurled across the crowd and there was a mosh pit of bobbing bucket hats which is the vibe you would expect at a Liam Gallagher gig. 

         The crowd waited in anticipation chanting Liam’s name as a black and white VT rolled onto the stage screens. The production values exceeded my expectations. Footage of the man himself from his new video Shockwave played as the band struck up and the Oasis front man strutted out onstage shaking a tambourine. Liam embodied his well-known confident persona as he performed the opening number, “Rock N’ Roll Star”. Everyone knew the words. The atmosphere was electric. The entire stadium was on their feet. 

         Liam addressed the crowd a lot more at this gig in contrast to his performance at Old Trafford. I’ve been to numerous gigs where artists have full speeches between songs, however I was surprised at Old Trafford that Liam didn’t really address the home crowd. His support act Richard Ashcroft spent a lot of his set speaking to the crowd; however, this time Liam did not disappoint. In typical Gallagher style Liam slated Newcastle United in an arena full of Geordies. He may have received some taunts from the crowd, but it didn’t last for long as he pulled out a mix of songs from his albums As You Were and Why Me? Why Not? Songs such as “Greedy Soul” and “Wall of Glass went down a storm, but nothing compared to the reaction of the crowd when Liam performed any Oasis songs. The entire arena stood up the moment “Morning Glory started. That reaction from the crowd gives individuals like me who didn’t live through Oasis’ reign in the 90s an insight into how popular they once were. The gig also witnessed appearances from the original Oasis guitarist Bonehead as well as Liam’s son Gene on the drums. The gig concluded with two encores which included some of Oasis’ iconic tunes such as “Supersonic”, “Champagne Supernova” and “Cigarettes and Alcohol”.

This gig is one of the best I have ever attended. You do not get many artists who appeal to such a range of individuals. The fact that I, a 20-year-old young woman, was attending the gig with my 60-year-old dad who loves Liam Gallagher just as much as I do shows you that Liam’s reign is not over just yet. Liam Gallagher lived the dream of a rock n’ roll star in the 90s and at 47-years-old he’s still selling out arenas all over the world which makes me think he’ll be rocking on for many years to come.  

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