In the end, the whole 100 minutes Liam Gallagher was onstage came down to these five words: “You gotta make it happen”.

There were times when it seemed as if Gallagher was merely the conduit for the shared experiences of generations of people packed in Sheffield Arena tonight, but somehow “Cigarettes And Alcohol” seemed the most anthemic of all the anthems. It was the one where it really did, well, happen.

Rewind three and a half hours from there and Villanelle appeared on stage for their biggest ever gig. Quite daunting, you’d imagine, for a band who were playing the same set they had supporting Pastel last month, even if your surname is Gallagher.

But Gene has a neat line in cool insouciance, an even better line in lead guitar and some very decent songs.

“Measly Means” kicks things off in a punk rock way, and “Natural Stereo” is an obvious highlight. “Pretty One” might slow the pace but they are much better on the likes of “Hinge” which is full of scuzzy, scrappy, youthful energy.

The surname might have got Villanelle on this bill, but it’s their talent that will keep them appearing on others.

Cast were, as John Power notes at the end of their set, just before they play “Alright”, “There when it all kicked off. I’m excited to see it tonight”.

Fresh off their tour just a couple of months ago, Cast are not phased by the size of either the stage, the crowd, or the task ahead of them. This might largely be because Power and the lads have several shiny anthems in their back pockets.

The set begins in the same fashion those headline shows had, with “Sandstorm” and “Fine Time”, while another of the arena fillers “Walkaway” similarly is mined from the debut album, but this is a set from the bookends of their career, as it is rounded out by a smattering from their “Love Is The Call” record from earlier this year. The title track, and “Tomorrow Call My Name” are amongst the best.

Special guests for a show like this is a tough gig. Literally. But this supporting Cast were more than alright.

At 8.30 pm precisely the number 2024 appears on the giant video wall. 30 minutes later it reaches 1994. And it’s greeted like New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

There’s a video montage that comes on before the band appear. One of the things that the much younger Gallagher says on that is “There are no rock n roll stars anymore, are there? Only us.” “In my mind my dreams are real” indeed.

I was a couple of months off my 19th birthday when “Definitely Maybe” came out. I was too young for the Pistols and The Clash. Our rebellion had come from Def Leppard, Mötley Crue and bands like that. Here was a band that wasn’t so much smokin’ in the boy’s room as sorting your girlfriend out while you were and then smashing your face in when you

complained. Essentially in the whole Blur vs Oasis thing there was one winner. One was a gang. The other was a Tory-supporting bunch of cheese makers.

And this first night of the tour celebrates all of that. It celebrates history, a bond (how many kids are here with parents who were there back then?) and most importantly it celebrates music.

It’s striking how the “….Maybe” album stacks up today. If it came out today you’d still buy it. The. Best. Does. Not. Date.

So, he pops casually onstage and tosses “Rock N Roll Star” out, then “Columbia” and “Shakermaker”. The latter apparently for the first time in almost 25 years, and “Digsy’s Dinner” has been longer.

He’s cleverer than he ever gets credit for, though, is Liam and if anyone thought he was merely going to run through the album in order and sod off again, they’d underestimated him.

Instead, there’s an absolute raft of b-sides and curios from the period. “Cloudburst” and “I Will Believe” are superb too.

Because they’ve all got a lot more money than 30 years ago, joining Bonehead and the rest is a string section that make “Half The World Away” soar even more than normal – that one is dedicated to “my little brother” and if “D’Ya Wanna Be A Spaceman” underlines that it should have been on the album, then it’s “Lock All The Doors” that’s going to set tongues wagging. An Oasis demo song, it is a Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds tune. The symbolism isn’t hard

to find if you look.

But there’s unfinished business, which includes a soaring “Whatever” and the aforementioned “….Alcohol” before “Married With Children” waves itself off with “Goodbye I’m going home”.

Except he’s not.

At least not until “Supersonic” damn near takes the roof off and “Slide Away” and “Live Forever” complete the job.

Ever the showman, by virtue of not being a showman at all. He’s back for a second encore and for the first time solo, plays “I Am The Walrus”.

And that is it. Except as we file out of the arena surrounded by people celebrating

like they’ve won the cup final, The O Jay’s “Give The People What They Want” plays, and that’d be the glib ending to the review right there, but while he did that, the show managed to speak to people who still felt these songs. When he’d played “Bring It On Down” he connected with people who were the “Outcasts, the underclass”. They might not be, but somehow tonight they were.

“Tonight, I’m a rock ‘n’ roll star”. And he was. He is. There’s something about Liam Gallagher that just screams it. But it’s more than that. He enabled, just for an hour and 40 minutes, everyone else to feel like they were too.

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