REVIEW: Liam Gallagher’s triumphant homecoming pays emotional tribute to victims of Manchester bombing

Liam Gallagher playing a concert at Manchester's O2 Ritz
Liam Gallagher playing a concert at Manchester's O2 Ritz
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It is fair to say Oasis weren’t known for their emotional depth.

But Liam Gallagher, in his first ever solo show, showed a different side to himself when he strutted back on stage for a one song encore and snarled out the lyrics to Live Forever unaccompanied in front of a Manchester crowd still reeling from the awful terrorist attack last week.

Liam Gallagher on stage at the Ritz

Liam Gallagher on stage at the Ritz

His words took on fresh resonance when he belted out the lines “I want to live, I don’t want to die”, as the crowd sang back in perfect unison.

Gripped by raw emotion, the famously cocky front man appeared genuinely heartfelt as he transformed his 90s anthem into a heartbreaking paean to the 22 people killed in the Manchester Arena tragedy. 22 candles were placed on the stage in memory of each and every one of the victims.

It was a touching moment at the end of a blistering homecoming, the proceeds of which are being donated to victims of the tragedy.

But this wasn’t a morbid affair. Manchester was on the hunt for good time and one of their favourite sons gave them just that.

From the moment he walked on stage at the city’s O2 Ritz, he was every bit the front man we remember swaggering around and snarling out his 90s anthems and transporting many of the 30 and 40-somethings in the crowd back to their teenage years.

‘Rock n Roll Star’ kicked off proceedings and got the venue’s famous sprung dance floor well and truly hoping from the onset.

‘Normal service has resumed,’ he told the audience, before launching in to a blistering ‘Morning Glory’ from the era defining album of the same name.

A few new songs and the odd sound glitch tempered the electric atmosphere momentarily but things got back on track quickly.

More Oasis classics followed, including ‘Slide Away’ and ‘D’You Know What I Mean?’ as Liam and his new outfit strutted their stuff for just over an hour in front of his home crowd.

The younger Gallagher brother gets a lot of flack, a lot of it justified, but he’s got something his older brother will never have. He’s a genuine star and last night his swagger perfectly epitomised that great no nonsense attitude that Manchester is known around the world for.

Liam has always been a hero in his home town and last night he showed why. He’s a proper rock and roll star, who can get you to forget about life for a while.

But he also gave a glimpse of some hidden emotional depths he would never have revealed in his booze swilling heyday.

Thanks and welcome back, r’kid.