Liam Gallagher, Glastonbury review: Rock'n'roll star's solo material lacks weight compared to Oasis classics
Understandably, his swagger restored to what it was, Liam wants Glastonbury 2019 to put the cherry of credibility on his substantial comeback cake
Much to the chagrin of the lobster-coloured lads getting lagered up at the nearest bar, the Oasis reunion has never seemed further away. Noel – the talent – is back on peak solo song-writing form and experimenting with psych-rock, with his best results since "(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?". Meanwhile, Liam – the voice – is back in arenas with his Oasis-heavy solo sets and providing Glastonbury 2019’s biggest sing-along with a snarl.
It takes a little too long arriving though. Understandably, his swagger restored to what it was, Liam wants Glastonbury 2019 to put the cherry of credibility on his substantial comeback cake. After opening with an array of modern punk visuals accompanying a taped “F***in’ In the Bushes” and a formidable one-two of “Rock’n’Roll Star” and “Morning Glory”, he frontloads the set with tracks from his solo debut As You Were – hoping to slip them surreptitiously into his legend.
It doesn’t quite work – where Noel has boldly reinvented himself of late with psychedelic Ricky Martin steals and mind-boggling scissor solos, Liam plays on increasingly stale former glories.
“Wall Of Glass” is stripped of its production sizzles. “Shockwave” and new single “The River” are by-numbers glam stomps. “Greedy Soul”, dedicated to “f***ing beauty” Ken Dodd, is a bland facsimile of a post-peak Oasis grinder. Noel, as the talent, has proved himself capable of escaping the shadow of his old band. Liam, as the voice, simply can’t.
When he starts dipping into the Oasis catalogue, the tracks sound mighty in comparison. “Columbia”, “Slide Away”, “Cigarettes and Alcohol” – these are songs with a weight and brightness that reflected their times, a style that can only sound crippled by clogs when copied today. Only “Roll With It”, which Liam ironically describes as “really s**t” sounds a bit, well, Ken Dodd.
He threatens to close with a run of bona fide generational anthems: “Wonderwall” gives way to a scorching “Supersonic”, Liam hugging a sign at the back of the stage reading “ROCK’N’ROLL”. But his moment of triumph falls at the final hurdle. “Champagne Supernova”, dedicated to Keith Flint, starts with a stripped back piano rendition, perfect for the crowd to sing along to, then just stops. Where there should be a pause, a grinding great guitar riff and a festival-defining final chorus, there’s just Liam swaggering offstage, convinced he’s done the business. He very nearly has.