I wish I had a cooler induction story to Liam Gallagher — and to a larger and significant extent, Oasis — but I don't.
After all, like many others I know who first learned how to play the guitar, 'Wonderwall' was the beginning of it all. Liam and his older brother Noel both have reputations that precede them, and their lengthy careers as rock 'n' roll stars (not rock stars) and fixtures of modern British music have solidified as time passes on.
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But really, my proper introduction to the acerbic vocalist of Oasis and Beady Eye was — and I kid you not — his Twitter feed. More specifically, that time he called Kanye West an "utter shit" (I am a Kanye fan) and his stream of "potato" tweets referring to Noel.
My benign curiosity was fed even further after reading Stephen Hyden's fantastic book about the greatest music rivalries, Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me: What Pop Music Rivalries Reveal About the Meaning of Life on Oasis vs Blur, countless interviews in magazines, and of course, watching Supersonic.
Perhaps strangely, learning about him — and Noel and Oasis — beyond music continued to be my fondest glimpse of a man whose self-awareness (interchangeable with self-deprecation, honestly) is refreshing in the era of Instagram "celebrities" and fake news.
Last night's show, his only stop in Southeast Asia, happened two months before the release of his solo album, As You Were. By yesterday, Liam Gallagher, to me, feels more like a myth than a person, a collection of sound bites and anecdotes. The music he's made, most of all, still felt abstract and ironically almost always out of my reach.
That's why the experience of basking not just in his presence (and among dedicated fans), but everything that made him grab the headlines — on magazines and on massive stages — propelled me to a different, but not entirely unfamiliar state: the exhilarating high only live music can give.
While waiting for the show to start, an all-British playlist (from The Beatles to Buzzcocks) played as Mall Of Asia was slowly filled up with people, some notably wearing parkas and bucket hats (aka Liam Gallagher’s signature look).
It was a smart move, as the venue was chilly, something that Liam himself pointed out, “It’s f*cking freezing in here,” and that we’ll all “end up having pneumonia.” Coincidentally, that was the extent of Gallagher's renowned disposition all evening.
Liam Gallagher started his set with a strong performance of ‘Rock N’ Roll Star’ and followed up with ‘Morning Glory’, along with other early Oasis hits ‘D’You Know What I Mean?’, ‘Slide Away’, and dedicated his final song, ‘Be Here Now’ to “fans of Oasis.”
It is clear that, despite the highly publicized history between the Gallagher brothers, Liam will always be the most ardent fan of the band — his “first love”, as he put it that night, going as far to say that he wanted an Oasis reunion, and just waiting for “rkid” (Noel) to make it happen.
And he carries this pride with him, through Beady Eye, and now, his solo album. This is after shutting down the idea incredulously in January 2016 on Twitter ("Solo record are you f*cking tripping d*ckhead im not a c*nt LG X"), but then had a change of heart seven months later, announcing, "It's official I'm a c*nt LG x."
Nine out of the 15 songs he performed last night were from his new record, including the three current singles, ‘Wall of Glass’, ‘Chinatown’, and his best yet, ‘For What It’s Worth’ — the last of which was an apology of sorts, something that one may say is surprisingly out of character. His recognizable performance stance and tambourine playing may be easily expected from Liam, but last night, it felt like a performer who at times is striking in his lonesome.
As for me, my younger self would have found a lot of things to pick at, but nothing was more gratifying than the encore, when Liam Gallagher performed ‘Wonderwall’ and hearing it live in 2017 — a time when much of our lives have long since changed since the very first moment heard it. After tonight, I’m now far from wondering.
- Rock 'n' Roll Star
- Morning Glory
- Wall of Glass
- Greedy Soul
- For What It's Worth
- D'You Know What I Mean?
- Slide Away
- Eh La
- Universal Gleam
- Be Here Now
Special thanks to Ovation Productions and Warner Music Philippines for the invite.