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Liam Gallagher at 3Arena review: A near-religious 1990s experience delivered by that wondrous voice

Mancunian gives magical performance of Definitely Maybe, the Oasis album that regenerated rock’n’roll

Liam Gallagher performing during the Dublin leg of his Definitely Maybe anniversary tour. Photograph: Bryan Meade

Liam Gallagher

3Arena, Dublin

After years of Nirvana-led misery, Definitely Maybe from Oasis put some swagger back into rock’n’roll in 1994. Its songs owed everybody from The Sex Pistols to Slade and even The New Seekers a few bob (magpie-in-a-jewellers songwriter Noel Gallagher always owned up to his light-fingered ways), but they were undeniably great, especially when sung at 3am with your arms around your best pal. Nobody could ever sing them like Liam Gallagher though. His voice was the sound of Oasis, which is why he can carry off a Definitely Maybe 30th anniversary tour in a way that Noel, despite his songwriting brilliance, never could. The absence of those distinctive pipes, the love child of Lennon and Lydon, would spoil it.

While we wait for the inevitable reunion, although Liam quashed the latest tabloid rumours with a “first I’ve heard of it” tweet only this weekend, this show will certainly do enough to be going on with.

The atmosphere in the 3Arena before kick-off is absolutely lethal as the throng swirls and roars like waves crashing against a cliff, although this is nothing compared to the berserk outbreak that accompanies Liam’s arrival. The preternaturally charismatic Mancunian ambles on, the big band explode into Rock ‘N’ Roll Star, and we’re back in the 90s when I was young and free.

Liam Gallagher on stage at the 3Arena. Photograph: Bryan Meade

That voice, still being projected up and out with his hands behind his back, remains a thing of wonder, perhaps the most distinctive in the last 30 years of rock’n’roll, whatever you think of the music. Columbia, Shakermaker, Up In the Sky, and the spitting punk of Bring It On Down have all the subtlety of an air raid, and are probably louder, but they’re the better for it. It is a ferocious onslaught, although Liam’s ever-present sense of humour (name a better chatshow guest) comes out when he offers Digsy’s Dinner (“We’ll have lasagne”) to any Irish-Italians who might be in the building.


The atmosphere dips slightly for the B-sides section, as our man digs up demos and offcuts from the period. Half the World Away is greeted like a favourite child and if there’s anything nearly as good as the rocks-like-an-elephant-on-a-beach-ball Fade Away on the solo records, then I haven’t heard it. Liam dedicates Lock All the Doors, a song his brother started writing in the 90s and recorded for the apparently unironically titled High Flying Birds album Chasing Yesterday, to anyone in the audience called Noel, the scamp.

If you look up anthem in the dictionary, it probably directs you to Cigarettes & Alcohol. Liam holds nothing back and his sneering howl, which never met a vowel it couldn’t elongate, drives this belter through your ear like a stake. It’d be the highlight if it wasn’t for the perfect encore of Supersonic, Slide Away, and Gallagher senior’s greatest song, Live Forever. The crowd were having a religious experience, speaking in tongues when they weren’t singing every word. It was, to borrow a favoured Gallagher word, a biblical night out. Who needs a reunion?

Liam Gallagher 3Arena setlist
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll Star
  • Columbia
  • Shakermaker
  • Up in the Sky
  • Digsy’s Dinner
  • Bring It On Down
  • Cloudburst
  • I Will Believe
  • Half the World Away
  • D’Yer Wanna Be a Spaceman?
  • Fade Away
  • Lock All the Doors
  • (It’s Good) To Be Free
  • Whatever
  • Cigarettes & Alcohol
  • Married With Children
  • Supersonic
  • Slide Away
  • Live Forever
Encore two:

I Am the Walrus

Liam Gallagher on stage at the 3Arena. Photograph: Bryan Meade
Liam Gallagher on stage at the 3Arena. Photograph: Bryan Meade
Liam Gallagher on stage at the 3Arena. Photograph: Bryan Meade
Liam Gallagher on stage at the 3Arena. Photograph: Bryan Meade