Live Review: Liam Gallagher, Cast & Villanelle – Utillia Arena, Sheffield



Liam Gallagher kicked off the first night of his ‘Definitely Maybe‘ tour in the ‘Steel City’ of Sheffield on 1st June. Support on the night came from one of Britpop’s finest Cast and Villanelle, who are fronted by Liam’s lad Gene.

The excitement began well before even getting to the arena, boozers around the City Centre were rammed with people who were heading to the gig, they were easy to spot by their hair and clothes. Strangers chatting about what they think might happen during the gig, being the first gig of the tour, there was nothing to go on but pure speculation and Gallagher’s Tweets.

After opening at 6pm, the arena started to fill up pretty quick, which is slightly unusual, especially when the headliner isn’t on till 9pm. This was down to people eager to catch Villanelle and see how a different Gallagher, young Gene would handle the big stage.

The band opened with ‘Measly Means’ and despite only having played a handful of gigs before this one, stepping onto a big arena stage that holds a capacity of 13,600 didn’t seem to phase the band at all and instead they relished in the opportunity. Gene at the minute is a dead ringer of 1994 Liam too so it was great to see him there performing, not only that but he has a similar vocal to ’94 Liam too. The band played with a more grungy style and Gene played his guitar lower down than usual, seemed a nod to Nirvana. Without any songs released yet, ‘Pretty One’ sounded the obvious choice with the dreamy and shoegaze verses intertwined with the heavier chorus.

One of the kingpins of the 90’s Cast were next and delieved a set full of the classics mixed with their latest album ‘Love Is The Call‘. Cast produced some of the greatest tunes of the Britpop era so this made them the perfect band to play these shows.

Entering the stage and playing the iconic ‘Sandstorm‘, it was clear to see that the band were up for this gig. John Power was bouncing around, grinning and radiating an electricity which was ricocheting through the now almost full to capacity arena.

Title track ‘Love Is The Call‘, was the first track that Cast played from their latest album and one thing that needs to be pointed out is how well these new tunes stand up and blend in with the classics. The songwriting is phenomenal as always and witnessing these tracks live just shows the strength in them, so much so that ‘Tomorrow Call My Name‘ came after the mighty ‘Walkaway‘, both beautiful and emotional rollarcosters, it would have been a shame to only get one. The “You know it’s gonna be alright” lyrics at the end provided the perfect set up for the set closer and big anthem ‘Alright‘.

With a huge 2024 on the screens it was time for the main attraction… Or maybe not yet, the date started to count backwards. As the years rolled back you could see the stage getting set up, the big globe getting inflated and movements in the dark. Every year that rolled back there was a cheer from the crowd, apart from 2009 anyway, some boos came then to show the disappointment of Oasis splitting up in August that year. It was as the screen hit 2000 that the adrenaline really started to pump though as ‘I Am The Resurrection‘ by The Stone Roses started to ring around the arena, this song is now Liam’s trademark walk on tune. As the clock struck 1994, the lights started to flash and a short intro video started with some classic Liam interviews quotes.

Unsurprisingly, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star‘ came first, it couldn’t really be anything other than the album opener, it sure helps that it’s a banger that gets the blood pumping too. Keeping the tempo up, ‘Columbia‘ came next, by this point you could hear the venom in Liam’s vocals. The ‘Definitely Maybe‘ tunes kept flowing as to be expected as after all, he was playing the album in full. ‘Shakermaker‘, Up In The Sky‘ ‘Digsy’s Dinner‘ and ‘Bring It On Down‘ followed with the stage set as a mad, trippy version of the album cover, with Liam describing it as the inside of his head.

It was when Liam dabbled in the b-sides and deepcuts when the gig got really interesting though.

Cloudburst‘ came first, this is pretty much unheard live even during the Oasis days, but it is such a summer anthem, it’s one of those Oasis tracks that gets people asking, “How was that a b-side?” But when it was on the single with ‘Live Forever‘ then that’s why I guess. ‘I Will Believe‘ followed and again is one of the deeper b-sides, Liam was looking in his element revisiting and performing these.

Liam dedicated the next bunch of tracks to his brother (Noel) and the set took a cheeky turn with Liam landing his vocals on some predominantly Noel sung Oasis tunes.

Half The World Away‘ has always been a sacred Noel Gallagher sung track but I guess everything is fair game when you are celebrating the album. I found this one a little hard to get my head around, not that Liam didn’t do a great job or anything, it just felt a bit strange with Liam’s vocals, as the tour progresses I guess this weirdness will dissappear. Can not give Liam enough respect for tackling this one though.

The biggest suprise of all came with ‘Lock All The Doors‘, the tune was a demo in 1992 for Oasis, with Noel claiming it took him over 20 years to finish and an updated (finished) version featured of Noel’s second album ‘Chasing Yesterday‘ in 2015. There is no denying that these heavier type tunes are much more sorted to Liam though and it was amazing to see Liam tear into a ’92 version of himself. He sounded absolutely incredible, fans were split between the not knowing the tune to the shell-shocked “I can’t believe he’s doing this!“.

The first part of the set was finished off with stand alone single ‘Whatever‘, the classic ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol‘ which provided the biggest moshpit of the night and ‘Married With Children, the “Goodbye, I’m going home” lyrics being very apt to finish with… For now anyway.

The first encore was back to the album with three stone cold classics, ‘Supersonic‘, ‘Slide Away‘ and ‘Live Forever‘. In the past, I have found ‘Slide Away‘ doesn’t really hit the right level with Liam solo but that wasn’t the case, especially with Bonehead performing who was arguably the driving noise and the soul of those earlier Oasis days. You usually miss Noel on the “I don’t know, I don’t care, all I know is you can take me there” backing vocals on this tune when it’s played live but this was taken over by the 13,600 strong crowd.

After leaving the stage again, this time a few fans also left the arena not expecting him to return for a second time, but those a bit more in the know, knew there was no way he wasn’t going to finish with The Beatles cover and former Oasis closer ‘I Am The Walrus.’ Those who hadn’t lost their voice by this point provided the “Wooooo’s” which feature on The Beatles version but not the Oasis one.

After the gig there was not one person who wasn’t shocked and grinning from what they had just witnessed. Strangers trying to talk to each other about the gig but the lost and croaky voices made it difficult to understand each other, but everybody knew they had just been part of something very, very special.

If there was ever a time for Noel to think about the Oasis reunion, the time is definitely now, Liam has honestly never sounded this good for around twenty years. He has also put the graft in creating a new generation of Oasis fans. I have always said there are three types of Oasis fans, the ones who like the singles, the ones who like the album and the ones who find the other side of Oasis through their b-sides and rarities, tonight Liam has just sent the new generation down that rabbit hole, and when you find that side, it changes from a fanatic to an obsession.

Oasis release a remastered version of ‘Definitely Maybe‘ for the 30 year anniversary and by the end of this tour, Liam Gallagher would have single handedly put the sales for that through the roof.

Pre-order here:

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