The Stone Roses inspired Liam Gallagher to start a band…and the rest, as they say, is history. But as the first gig of his tour with former Roses guitarist John Squire kicks off at Glasgow’s Barrowlands to celebrate their newly released no.1 album, I can’t help but notice a teeny weeny bit of reserve and awe in Gallagher’s normally unflinching demeanour. 

Don’t get me wrong, the swagger’s still there but there’s not the same level of sweary dramatics, Gallagher perhaps acknowledging how he got to be here in the first place…then again it could be a case of Squire’s chilled approach having a calming affect on him. With Oasis there were always two egos at play, but tonight Liam has the crowd in the palm of his hand, allowing Squire to wallow with his guitars, and although some folk say there’s no rapport between the duo, it’s just a different dynamic and I can’t help but wonder if they’ve never really got over the big break up of brothers Gallagher. Move on!

With chants of Lee-uuum filling the room as they take to the stage, I don’t imagine Squire’s too fussed, lurking under his protective mass of drooping hair as his nimble fingers do the talking. And although the duo have been tagged as a right pair of grannies in recent photos doing the rounds on social media, tonight they reclaim their status as rock ’n’ roll stars, in a stunning albeit short set, showcasing the new album with their band, complete with Barrie Cadogan on bass, Chris Madden on keyboards and Joey Waronker on drums.

Gallagher’s vocals sooth, oozing a new-found yearning on the album’s luminous first single Just Another Rainbow, all that pre-gig good living clearly paying off, though a load of phones get right in my eye-line, killing any possibility of me slipping into a psychedelic stupor. Of all the tracks tonight, it’s probably the best known to the fans, who sing along word for word before Squire takes over with some staggering nostalgic nods to a spectrum of influences from The Beatles and Stones to Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. Latest single Mars to Liverpool sees Gallagher’s swagger on the rise with its “Jesus Christ, about last night, I can only apologise” opener, his intones soaring but never harsh as the uplifting chorus cascades over the audience like a warm ray of sunshine. 

Highlight of the night for me is I’m A Wheel, its rolling 12-bar blues and smouldering melody taking delightful detours, as sweet and spicy as a wee bourbon, my only complaint that it’s not playing out in a dark, smokey club. But on that note, thank goodness they stuck to smaller venues for this tour rather than the arenas and stadiums. Everything about the performance is so much more intimate than we’d expect with Gallagher at the forefront. Brandishing his ego like he does his maracas and tambourine, he stirs things up from time to time before taking a step back to let Squire take the spotlight, no desire to outshine the guy who he owes so much to, not to mention the fact that he wrote all of the album’s songs while embellishing them with shimmering slices of soulful psychedelic guitar which tonight glide under Gallagher’s balmy rasps.

It’s fair to say that the crowd don’t really ‘get going’ in the same way any band, no matter how big, will get a more diluted reaction on newer songs. At one point Gallagher asks “is anyone bored” after casting his eye over the crowd, not his usual rowdy entourage, leading into I’m So Bored as they both indulge their love of punk. But Gallagher and Squire decided against playing any old Oasis / Stone Roses numbers and were upfront about this before the tour tickets were released. For many, the evening’s as much about seeing these two legends together as it is about the music…though some may beg to differ on that! 

With no encore, Gallagher thanks us, saying “as you know we’ve not got any more f**kin’ songs but we do appreciate looking at your beautiful faces”, their last number The Rolling Stones’ Jumpin’ Jack Flash, which raises a grin for the simple reason that it’s not The Beatles. It gets a great reception likes, and they’d probably do not bad with a night of covers, should times get tough… Come to think of it, most people wouldn’t mind if they’d played a few more covers tonight or even pulled out a karaoke machine to spin the night out a bit longer.

Alas, after almost an hour, Gallagher flings his maracas into the crowd, whips on his scarf then chucks his tambourine towards a shoulder squatter. It’s over. Maybe they could’ve done a wee cover of The Monkees’ Last Train To Clarksville, cause it’s 10.10pm and I reckon we could still make it…

On the way out, a few people confess that they thought they’d play at least one old Oasis or Stone Roses favourite, and if they do decide to change things up for maybe the Manchester or London gigs then Gallagher will want to watch his back when he’s back in Glasgow for two nights at the Hydro in June and TRNSMT in July…he has been warned!

Words: Shirley Mack @musingsbymarie
Pictures: Calum Mackintosh @ayecandyphotography