LIAM GALLAGER w/ Richard Ashcroft, Bugsy Malone and Twisted Wheel
18th August 2018
Emirates Old Trafford, Lancashire Cricket Ground
“The Boys Are Back In Town”
There’s that feeling you get in your stomach when you are reviewing and photographing one of your heroes; Now let's times that by two!
The two heroes in question, Liam Gallagher (Oasis) and Richard Ashcroft (The Verve) have been in my life since....I can’t remember. So, here we were, myself and 55,000 fans gathered at Emirates Old Trafford Cricket Ground for the homecoming show of Manchester’s prodigal son – LIAM GALLAGHER - the man, his army of parkas, bucket hats, Oasis t-shirts, dark shades and bandy walks. I swear, if there was a roof on this cricket ground, it would have been blown sky high by the end of the night.
But, before we get to Liam, kicking the night off in a paisley shirt, John Lennon glasses and desert boots were Manchester lads, Jonny Brown, Richard Alsop, Harry Lavin and Adam Clarke collectively known as Twisted Wheel.
This band has been around for a while, in one form or another, with the one constant member being Jonny Brown. They even supported Oasis back in 2009! Playing a set of, what I would describe as, Indie Manchester Mod, they were tight, looked sharp and totally at ease on the big stage. “Lucy The Castle”, “She A Weapon” and “You Stole The Sun” were the stand out songs for me. I liked Twisted Wheel a lot and look forward to seeing them headline their own show.
Following this, on bounced Bugsy Malone with his brand of UK grime. I found this to be a bit of an odd choice for an indie rock and roll show, but quite a nice change of tempo. He did his thing, the crowd did theirs and he finished with appreciative applause and lots of smiles.
Then it was the first of tonight’s iconic rock and rollers, RICHARD ASHCROFT, and he didn’t disappoint!
What can you say about this man that most likely hasn’t been said before? His stage presence alone is something else; add to that the incredible voice, the cool as f@£K attitude, the amazing melodies and songwriting, and that my friends, is why he is a legend and why albums like Urban Hymns are still revered today.
He played a mixture of Verve songs and his solo stuff, “On Your Own”, “Sonnet”, “Break The Night With Colour”, “Lucky Man”, “Weeping Willow”, “This Is How It Feels”, “The Drugs Don’t Work”, “Hold On” and “Bitter Sweet Symphony”.
The Lights go dark and the screen and the back of the stage flickers to life and we see live footage of LIAM GALLAGHER making his way to the stage. So its all hail the king, the homecoming hero and he strides on to the stage with that familiar swagger, full of ‘I don’t give a shit’ attitude, sunglasses and blue smock style parka. With that me and 55,000 people erupt and it gets even louder as he launches in to “Rock And Roll Star” and he is every inch the rock star and tonight is his night.
Love or hate him, you have to admire what he has achieved in the last 12 months and the resurrection of this Manchester icon. The next hour and a half was everything you wanted it to be and more, with all the songs from Oasis to Beady Eye and the new solo stuff being rolled out: “Rock And Roll Star”, “Morning Glory”, “Greedy Soul”, “Wall Of Glass”, “Bold”, “For What It’s Worth”, “Bring It On Down”, “Listen Up”, “Champagne Supernova”, “Soul Love”, “You Better Run”, “Whatever”, “Supersonic”, “Some Might Say”, “Cigarettes & Alcohol”, “Wonderwall”, “D’Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman?”, “Live Forever”.
There was a heart-felt tribute to the late great Aretha Franklin, A guest appearance from original Oasis guitarist Bonehead and a spectacular duet with Richard Ashcroft moved the set towards the end of an electric evening in Manchester.
With this and 2 encores to appease the frenzied crowd it was all over! What a night it was and what a year this man has had. A number one album, sold out tours, and 55,000 people for your homecoming show, not bad at all, so....”As You Were”