I went to see Liam Gallagher and John Squire live in Manchester and there was something missing

The Oasis icon and Stone Roses guitarist are seemingly a match made in Manchester music heaven.
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On what was the final night of their two-night homecoming in Manchester, Liam Gallagher showed what makes him such an impressive frontman and John Squire demonstrated his prowess on the guitar. However, something felt missing from their set.

First and foremost, their album together is nowhere near as bad as people suggest. Was it the “best album since Revolver” like Gallagher boldly suggested? Not even close.

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Was the album predictable? Yes obviously. A zebra isn’t gonna change its stripes and neither should they after decorated careers in the music industry. They know their audience and they catered to their audience, which showed up in fine fettle at the O2 Apollo on Thursday night. But even so, the show lacked something, especially considering the £65 plus they were charging for the gig.

Maybe it was the lack of covers and acknowledgement of their past hits? After the tour was announced, Gallagher disappointingly confirmed the duo would not play any songs from Oasis or Stone Roses, but listening to Gallagher singing along to ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ and hearing Squire jamming along to ‘Some Might Say’ would have made a better experience. Or hearing the pair performing a Beatles classic like ‘Helter Skelter’ would have been very fitting given Liam’s well documented love for the Fab Four. 

Liam Gallagher and John Squire. Picture: Tom OldhamLiam Gallagher and John Squire. Picture: Tom Oldham
Liam Gallagher and John Squire. Picture: Tom Oldham

For the entirety of their 55-minute set they rarely interacted, failing to display the studio chemistry that earned them a UK No.1 album. Gallagher was at the front and centre and although he drifted into the shadows to allow Squire to take the spotlight for his trademark guitar solos, Squire still felt like a background character. His performance on the guitar was riveting, effortless and showcased his fluidity and proficiency whilst gilding his fingers across his fretboard, but even then it felt like he was just simply a member of Gallagher’s backing band. 

The pair’s songs weren’t written by Gallagher himself, but last night felt as if he had made them his own. He delivered Squire’s lyrics with a great sense of conviction, and even though you may love him or hate him you can never say Liam’s live performances lack effort. Gallagher could literally sing the ingredients of a chicken tikka masala, and he’d make it compelling viewing. The former Oasis frontman has one of the most recognisable voices in rock music and has a commanding presence on stage that just gets you hooked instantly. 

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Following strong opening sets by Squire’s son Dillon and Jake Bugg, Gallagher came out of the blocks hot with the psychedelic-sounding ‘Just Another Rainbow’, ‘One Day at a Time’ and the Jimi Hendrix-esque bluesy hit ‘I’m A Wheel’ which proved to be a particular highlight on the night.

Hits such as ‘Mars to Liverpool’ and ‘Raise Your Hands’ followed later in the night and got the hometown crowd singing in unison - the latter proving to be a fitting closer before the encore. 

The pair finished with the Rolling Stones hit ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’, which was nothing more than fodder to be brutally honest. It felt very much like a time-filler to push the pair’s set closer to one hour otherwise it would have been around 45 minutes.