Liam Gallagher appears to erupt like a volcano with his big band as they begin their Spark Arena show on a peak with Hello, the opening track to the great Oasis album, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
Big balls Rock’n’Roll. Cock-strutting swagger. Three guitars lay out a monumental rhythmic barrage with flashes of lead guitar fire shooting out. Three backing singers. Rolling thunder engine room drums and bass.
The songs flow like molten lava all night. Rock’n’Roll Star adds a piano to the mix. With Morning Glory completing the opening triple attack of Oasis numbers, incendiary and over the top.
Butlers are a young four-piece Rock group from Christchurch, grabbing their opportunity to perform in front of a big audience, opening for a Rock’n’Roll Star.
They headlined a show at the Powerstation last year, four up-and-coming local acts. Energetic Power Pop then and tonight they beef it up with a bigger drum sound.
Most songs are off their new album Back to Basics, released just five days ago.
A jangling lead guitar kicks off Baby Please. Hourglass is a ballad and the singer resembles Gallagher here.
They hit their stride on third song When I’m Back. A Punk Reggae opening riff. Brash, shouty power pop overlaid with a lead guitar riff cribbed from a 70s Joe Walsh.
Walt Robberds the lead singer tells us that less than a week ago he was on a beach in El Salvador. Fifty hours of travel and arriving back in New Zealand yesterday, to take the stage tonight to open for one of the top acts in the world currently. They must be running on nerves and adrenaline.
Night’n’Day begins with some serious riff thunder, sounding like the intro to Led Zeppelin’s Trampled Underfoot. The singer is leaping about the stage as the turbo kicks in. Leave the Punk behind and get into Rock.
Closing with Rumours, they remind me of the energy Th’Dudes used to generate. The Butlers earn their coveted spot opening the show tonight.
Gallagher has expressed his desire to make a Stooges style of album. Hard, no frills and nasty. But then he has an ear for a nice melody and a ballad and gets sidetracked.
Everything Electric comes from the C’mon You Know album released a couple of months ago, and does sound like a track from Funhouse, on stage tonight. A bit more brutal than the studio take with some thrilling lead guitar breaks.
More Power is the opening track. Begins with the recorded children’s choir. Gallagher shreds his voice but it sounds great. Emphasizes the gospel inspiration underneath and gives it some raw emotional power. One of the highlights of the album.
Another one from there, Diamond in the Dark, and dammit he can’t help but put a bit of I am the Walrus in there. No matter how much he tries to get away from all that Beatley, Stonesy stuff, he will always be eternally grateful for all his past influences.
Roll it Over. Gallagher can take his place as one of the great, distinctive white soul singers. Or more accurately the Howling English Blues. Alongside yer John Lennon, Steve Marriott, Roger Daltrey, even Joe Cocker. The voice can get ragged, he doesn’t go into the upper register but there is always that fierce spirit. Roll it over in my soul/ And leave it here/ Look around at all the plastic people.
Once gets the large crowd on the ground to leap about and join in. Actually, they have been doing that for a while. The only other time I have seen Gallagher live is in 1998, when Oasis played at the Logan Campbell centre. Twenty-four years later a big part of the audience tonight would have been busy being born back then. Testament to the enduring power of great Rock’n’Roll.
Bonehead does get a special mention before they launch into a spectacular version of Cigarettes and Alcohol. Meshed rhythm guitars are irreproachable.
That volcano keeps on flowing. Wonderwall, Live Forever, Supersonic.
Someday you will find me/ Caught beneath a landslide/ In a Champagne Supernova.
Rev Orange Peel
NB: Paul Bonehead Arthurs was not performing tonight. He has been in the recent touring ensemble, but has been unwell since April 2022 and pulled out of performing.
Click on any image by Brenna Jo Gotje:
Liam Gallagher Setlist:
- Rock ‘n’ Roll Star
- Morning Glory
- Wall Of Glass
- Everything’s Electric
- Better Days
- Stand By Me
- Roll It Over
- Slide Away
- Soul Love
- More Power
- Diamond In The Dark
- Cigarettes & Alcohol
- Live Forever
- Champagne Supernova
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