Liam Gallagher epitomizes a rock ‘n’ roll spirit that is all but extinct. I don’t seem to be alone on this theory, either. Judging by the sold-out crowd at Toronto’s REBEL on November 23, the age range of millennials to spry boomers was instantly recognizable. One can only guess that they came seeking, or even reliving, a dose of the real thing.
For the inaugural Toronto solo gig by the former Oasis frontman – 2011’s Beady Eye tour not accounted for – fans were treated to a lean and mean set. With a white hanging banner reading “As You Were”, the man of the hour made his way to the stage like a boxer approaching the ring. Appropriately, a double shot of Oasis tunes, Rock n Roll Star and Morning Glory got things started, accompanied by his impressively fine-tuned band.
Slightly mellowing with tracks from his new album (Bold, For What It’s Worth), Gallagher, now 45, has yet to surrender his bad boy aura. Standing in his trademark pose, hands locked behind back – he sneered, spat, and even purportedly threw a tantrum over his maracas (cutting the show short, just under an hour). Nevertheless, the energy he brought never dissipated. Marking the night’s highlight, 90’s Brit-pop anthem Some Might Say called for mandatory sing-alongs, even extracting visible tears from a middle-aged fan decked out in Kappa wear.
In the end, it was about the music. Gallagher, after all, realizes the weight Oasis nostalgia holds with many around the world. To that effect, he didn’t waste time with gimmicks. What he brought was old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll.
Photos and words by Myles Herod