“I am here, you are here, I’m he, you’re me, and we are all together”

Those are the first words that Liam Gallagher says as he takes the stage at Knebworth.

It’s June 22. Not June 96. And 170,000 people saw Liam play these shows, and if the spectre of that other band, that other couple of gigs they played,  is never far away, then that’s cool, right?

Go back to 96. I tried to get a ticket. Everyone did. If you coming up for 21 as I was back then, then you almost had to. I’d passed my driving test in the January of that year and to celebrate I bought “Definitely, Maybe” (and Presidents Of The United States Of America’s debut). I was a rock n roll kid. I was never – and I’m still not – an indie fan. That’s why Liam is (note the present tense) still cool. He’s, well, not to do the blindingly obvious, a rock n roll star. He sings it. The second song in. And he sings the words “Look at you, man, you’re all in my hands tonight”. Like he knows.

Not for nothing does he start this with “Hello”. It’s good to be back, after all. It’s a sneer, it’s a dig. So what?

Because Liam Gallagher can still write sneering rock songs. “Wall Of Glass”, “Shockwave” – which borrows liberally from BRMC’s “Spread Your Love” – and the other solo stuff he plays proves that.

And good luck to him for playing so much of it. “Everything’s Electric” and the huge-sounding “Roll It Over” are made for stadiums.

But good luck to him, too for recognising what he’s almost got to do here. The opening riff of “Slide Away” lights some kind of touchpaper, and the rest of it sounds incredibly energised.

If he let’s his 60s fantasies run away with him on “More Power” (complete with choir, by the way) and his 70s ones rub riot on “C’mon You Know”, before channelling the sound of the md-90s on “The River” then he does it so well.

Then it happens. It was always going to.

The encore:

“Cigarettes And Alcohol” hits. And in the moment it does you remember why in the great Blur vs Oasis thing, you were always on the side of the rock n roll band. The gang. Them or some cheese-making Tories with fake accents and a stupid dance? Purrleeese. I’ve never touched drugs in my life and I’m singing “you might as well do the white line” with the best of them.

“Some Might Say” is filthy. That lead guitar is greasy as a day-old KFC, “Supersonic”,  somehow makes the world’s most ridiculous lyrics into a brilliant song, and then he asks the most redundant question in the world: “Who Wants ‘Wonderwall’?” They do. He gives it to them. He reckons it’s “biblical”. It probably was.

“Champagne Supernova” shines brightly. It really does. But this is no flash of blinding light. He’s been doing this for over 30 years. He’s a veteran now. He’s classic rock. Except he’s not. He’s still Liam Gallagher and he’s everything you want – and need – him to be.

The song he’d pretended to end the show with “Once” (we’ll forgive him an encore) even sounds like Mott The Hoople, but for this review, let’s think about the line: “You only get to do it once”.

Except no one told Liam Gallagher. He tells the crowd at the end: “you’s are the bollocks”. You aren’t so bad yourself, mate.

Rating 9/10

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