"At times you can barely hear Gallagher over the roar of the crowd." Liam Gallagher's Definitely Maybe tour comes home to Manchester, and it's magical

Liam Gallagher swaggers back home for a trip back to 1994

Liam Gallagher in Manchester
(Image: © Daniel Boczarski/Redferns)

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It’s twenty minutes til showtime and Co-Op Live reeks of lager. While the recently-opened arena has already hosted a slew of global superstars, hometown hero Liam Gallagher is the only person truly worthy of christening the new venue. And on the eve of the last weekend in June, the fans are doing so in proper Mancunian style, baptising the shiny floor with overspilling pints as they howl and holler in anticipation of the night ahead. 

Back in May, Liam Gallagher joked that if the venue, which has had more than its share of teething issues, wasn't ready in time, he'd perform in a local Lidl. As fun as that would have been, health and safety may have had some issues. At the Co-Op, a clock slowly counts back the years to 1994, the year of the release of Oasis’ classic debut album, Definitely Maybe. With each year that passes, the rowdy rumble of the room slowly raises, a sea of bucket hats bobbing and swaying in time with Stone Roses tracks blasting over the PA. Everyone is thoroughly ready to let loose, eager to swing into the evening’s festivities. 

As the opening of Rock ‘n’ Roll Star kicks in, the arena transforms: in an instant, the room is akin to a raucous festival field. Pints are flung, and a pit opens up as soon as Gallagher makes his way onstage. Fans clamber atop shoulders, waving a UK flag with the Oasis logo stitched into the centre. Every voice howls the words back like it’s the true national anthem, and in a way, it is: this is Manchester, and Gallagher is the people’s king. 

It’s all so overwhelmingly joyful, that it almost brings a tear to your eye, but there’s no time to be soppy. By the time Columbia  follows, Gallagher has his maracas in hand, his backing singers swaying in time to the anthem. Oasis' former frontman is in his usual attire, fully committed to the parka despite the sweltering heat in the venue. Every moment he is onstage, he’s sickeningly cool, hands held behind his back as he croons into the mic nonchalantly, chewing gum never disrupting that iconic Northern drawl. 

Between songs, he's hilariously deadpan, whether talking about the giant flamingoes onstage or dedicating a track to his dog, Buttons. It’s as if he’s stood in his own living room rather than singing to 23,500 people – and the fans absolutely delight in it. 

Amidst the sarcasm and uproar, there are a few moments of tenderness. Half The World Away - a B-side, let's not forget - feels like magic, the weight of the track settling in your gut as the volume in the room soars. At times you can barely hear Gallagher over the roar of the crowd, an accompanying flicker of phone torches and lighters sparkling around the room. Later, as the onscreen message “WARNING: ROCK AND ROLL CAN SERIOUSLY DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH” appears, Cigarettes & Alcohol causes chaos, and yet more lager showers.

As the night draws to a close, Gallagher knocks out Live Forever, perhaps the album's best-known song. It’s a performance that feels particularly poignant, especially with the faces of dearly-departed rock stars flashing on screen. As the room howls along, it’s clear that, with or without a reunion with the man who wrote all these timeless anthems, Liam Gallagher will live forever through the musical legacy he helped forge, no maybe about it.

“CIGARETTES & ALCOHOL” - Liam Gallagher | Live @ Co-Op LIVE | 27/06/24 - YouTube “CIGARETTES & ALCOHOL” - Liam Gallagher | Live @ Co-Op LIVE | 27/06/24 - YouTube
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Emily Swingle

Full-time freelancer, part-time music festival gremlin, Emily first cut her journalistic teeth when she co-founded Bittersweet Press in 2019. After asserting herself as a home-grown, emo-loving, nu-metal apologist, Clash Magazine would eventually invite Emily to join their Editorial team in 2022. In the following year, she would pen her first piece for Metal Hammer - unfortunately for the team, Emily has since become a regular fixture. When she’s not blasting metal for Hammer, she also scribbles for Rock Sound, Why Now and Guitar and more.