TNS photo by Jeffrey Geller
TNS photo by Jeffrey Geller
There’s a pretty easy way for this critic to rate the quality of Monday night’s sold-out concert by Liam Gallagher at First Avenue: It was as good or better than half of the Oasis shows I saw.
However, fans who made it to the first-ever solo date by Oasis’ former frontman – not counting his 2011 go-round with the band Beady Eye -- are more likely to remember the gig in quantitative terms rather than qualitative. Gallagher and his rather impressively fine-tuned backing group only performed for 65 minutes.
The 1,500 fans had just finished verbosely singing along to the Oasis classic “Live Forever” when it became clear the show wouldn’t go on anywhere close to forever. It wasn’t an unintentionally abbreviated set, either, like the four-song performance an ailing Gallagher gave at Lollapalooza this past summer. Minneapolis got 14 songs just like in most cities on the tour.
At least we can say the concert was lean and mean. Gallagher, 45, balanced out new songs with old favorites almost equally, starting off with a fire-starting tear through two of the best Oasis tunes for openers: “Rock 'n' Roll Star” and “Morning Glory.” The singer’s silhouette in the backlit stage lighting was unmistakable, with his upward tilted head, hands to his side and body wrapped in a sporty hoodie.
The packed crowd – heavy on drunken boneheadness, including a lot of what sounded like faux British accents donned by Eagan and Edina natives – bounced up and down in frenzied fashion to both songs, especially “Morning Glory.” Had the concert ended after just the first two songs, some of the fans might have felt they got their money’s worth.
The excitement died down by only about half that level through the montage of new songs that came next, all from the solo album Gallagher is on tour touting, “As You Were.” While the record features some rough-and-tumble rockers, such as “Greedy Soul” and “You Better Run,” the highlights off it during the performance were mellower and more paisley-hued tunes such as “I’ve All I Need” and “For What It’s Worth.” Gallagher strained a bit to hit all the notes in those more dramatic numers, but the audience actually knew the latter one well enough to fill in.
The singer fared better singing the rest of the well-worn Oasis offerings, which his five-piece band played exactly as they were on record without sounding by-the-numbers. “Some Might Say” and “Slide Away” brought the room back up to near-pandemonium level before the encore, and “Cigarettes & Alcohol” put it over the top just before the big “Live Forever” singalong finale.
Personality-wise, Gallagher came off less cocky and brutish than he did back when he was stuck in a band with his even more cocky and aloof brother Noel. He smiled down at fans often and talked here and there between songs. Of course, few of us actually understood what he was saying, but he sounded friendly.
Liam even smiled and laughed as he politely declined a yelled request for “Wonderwall.” Just a couple more Oasis tunes shouldn’t have been out of the question, though, especially since his new band did his old band justice. Not to mention, another 10 minutes or so of performance really would have gone a long way.
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