Liam Gallagher at Koko review: huge crowd-pleasers from rock’s parka-clad Rocky

Gallagher performing in Santiago de Compostela in 2022 (Getty Images)
Gallagher performing in Santiago de Compostela in 2022 (Getty Images)

Liam Gallagher’s pre-show DJ had been well briefed. The 1,400 lucky punters that had bagged tickets to this club show –celebrating the release of a live album from the Oasis frontman’s two solo shows at Knebworth last summer – were whipped into a pint-flinging frenzy with The Stone Roses’ I Am the Resurrection, a most fitting intro for the greatest rock’n’roll comeback of the century so far.

Just six years ago the younger Gallagher brother was one of Twitter’s most frustrated and caps-locked shouters, his post-Oasis band Beady Eye imploded and all his eggs quite vocally lay in the Oasis reunion basket. Three chart-topping solo studio albums later, he’s an icon reborn. As he swaggered onto the Koko stage to Oasis’ F**king in the Bushes, biting on his smile-shaped tambourine to express the pleasure his famously surly persona and glowering attitude can’t otherwise allow, it rained lager; Liam has become Broken Britain’s fightback hero, rock’s parka-clad Rocky.

In the summer of Pulp and Blur reunions, between this and Noel’s recent show at Crystal Palace Bowl, fans effectively got a self-assembly Oasis gig. Noel favoured the acoustic tunes and bluster ballads; Liam knocked out the monster anthems. With Bonehead sporadically joining his small army of onstage guitarists and crowd singalongs almost drowning out the band, he opened with Morning Glory and Rock’n’Roll Star, smudged and grizzled by the surfeit of guitars but still capable of reaching escape velocity. Mid-set came a stirring Stand by Me, Slide Away and a Floyd-sized Roll It Over, to equally terrace-like receptions. “Are there any Oasis fans in this little house?” Gallagher asked, arguably history’s most rhetorical question.

Much often rests on the balance Gallagher strikes between such crowd-pleasers and his solo material. But while the laboured glam of Shockwave and The River dragged by, several newer tracks have bedded in as firm fan favourites. Nostalgic poverty ballad Once tugged at beer-oiled heartstrings, and More Power, with its child choir backing track, exuded Stones-y charm. “Is this what you came for?” Gallagher sang – obviously not, but a minor bonus.

We came, of course, for the closing run of Oasis smashes: Cigarettes & Alcohol, Wonderwall, Roll With It, a heavy-footed Live Forever, all roared back by the crowd as Gallagher stalked the stage wearing his tambourine as a crown. But where we might have expected a final Champagne Supernova, he instead rolled out a grimy cover of Hendrix’s Are You Experienced? before disappearing as the DJ craftily cued up The O’Jays’ Give the People What They Want. Back from the dead, cocky as ever.