Liam Gallagher at Knebworth
Just over a quarter of a century on from the legendary Oasis weekend gig at Knebworth in 1996, Liam Gallagher returns sans-Noel for a weekend of Oasis classics and solo offerings to mark the Britpop icon’s latest album, C’mon You Know.
The Saturday begins with impressive supporting sets from Goat Girl, Michael Kiwanuka, a polarising set from Fat White Family, and, of course, a stomping, thunderous performance from the top-billed supporting act, Kasabian, who run through the greatest hits from their back catalogue that includes Club Foot, Underdog, and You’re in Love with a Psycho, and ends with a rapturous performance of Fire.
Soon enough, Gallagher, dressed head to toe in his label, Pretty Green, and waving a pair of maracas, swaggers onto the stage. “Who here’s from ’96?” he calls out, to a response of chants and a sea of raised hands. This is a historic moment for Oasis fans and, for Gallagher, another notch on the belt for his solo career, with C’Mon You Know being his fourth consecutive solo album to reach the top spot of the charts. It is a bold decision, after all, to return to Knebworth – the site of Oasis’s most iconic gig – on his own; but boy, does he pull it off.
The show begins, following a montage where the frontman’s signature phrases “biblical”, “celestial”, “majestical”, “lover”, “Jedi” (to name a few) are thrown onto the screens, to the delight of the fans, and Oasis favourites are belted out, starting with Hello, which is swiftly followed up by thumping crowdpleaser Rock’n’Roll Star, and then the anthemic Morning Glory, which sees the crowd hurl bucket hats and pints of Carlsberg to the chant, “Need a little time to wake up/ wake up”. It’s a nostalgia-fuelled opening, and, credit to the younger Gallagher brother, he gives the fans what they want after 26 years away – and he manages to do so without his solo work playing second fiddle. Everything’s Electric, the first single off his latest album and a track co-written by Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters/Nirvana fame, is already a crowd-favourite slice of British rock’n’roll, and balladic track More Power is a gentle, acoustic outing that silences the crowd before building into a climactic clash of drums and guitar solos, backed by the harmonious gospel coos of a choir of backup singers.
Once, from his 2019 album Why Me? Why Not, receives the best reception of any of the solo tracks, and sees the crowd sing along to the lines, “But oh, I remember how you used to shine, back then/ You went down so easy like a glass of wine, my friend”. It’s a rousing performance, and marks the end of his solo tracks for the night. What’s to follow is an immaculate six-track run of Oasis hits with Some Might Say, Cigarettes and Alcohol, a frenetic performance of Supersonic, a mass singalong rendition of Wonderwall that gets the Gallagher stamp of approval (“That’s biblical”), Live Forever and a spectacular finale of Champagne Supernova that sees John Squire of Stone Roses fame join on stage to provide smooth guitar licks. It all ends with a momentous firework display to mark the historic occasion when, for one weekend, 160,000 people got to live for a moment in 1996.
Photos: Mike Garnell
For further information and future events visit Liam Gallagher’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Everything’s Electric here: