Liam Gallagher graced Manila with his presence last night. He brought his As You Were tour to the SM Mall of Asia Arena and serenaded us with the old school tunes and his solo material.

As You Were

Majority of the crowd took their seats by the Lower Box A, Patron, and VIP sections. Word spread that he’s going to start his show on time but it was already past 8PM. I patiently remained on my Patron seat, beer in hand with an anxious heart. It’s quite common for me to get anxious before seeing a big artist live, but seeing Liam Gallagher was on a whole new level. This is the frontman of Oasis, a band I spent my childhood years with and cried over when I found out they broke up.

People waiting for Liam Gallagher in SM MOA Arena, Manila

The Sex Pistols background music began to fade and the lights dimmed. We all began to scream as his band members came out one by and one and picked up their respective instruments. The first few guitar notes of “Rock ‘N’ Roll Star” blasted from the speakers, and there he was—Liam Gallagher, in the flesh, and in his signature black parka! Nearly everyone (including myself) moved down to the VIP area and positioned themselves by the barricade.

My small figure allowed me to sneak in and get right up in front on his left side. Seeing the man up on stage with a tambourine nearly put me in either cardiac arrest and/or a crying fit. The crowd knew the words to this Oasis song and the collective out of tune chorus only got louder whenever Liam would sing “Tonight, I’m a rock ‘n’ roll star!” He really knew how to own that persona; only true rock ‘n’ roll stars can pull off a parka.

Liam Gallagher performs live with his parka covering his eyes in SM MOA Arena, Manila

He greeted Manila with his distinct grumpy face, adding that we’ll all get pneumonia because “It’s fucking freezing in here.” Throughout the night, he repeated his sentiments with his proud Mancunian accent, and even did a couple of shivering gestures to his crew on the side. Unfortunately, they never solved the temperature predicament.

In support of his upcoming solo debut album, he performed a few tracks including his singles “Wall of Glass”, “Chinatown”, and the latest “For What It’s Worth”. While waiting for the release of “As You Were” this October, the live songs give us a closer look inside the genius mind of Liam Gallagher. His solo materials are rueful and, for the lack of a better word, nostalgic. By nostalgic, I don’t mean in a comparative-to-Oasis sense—his lyrics sound like overdue apologies that he’s unable to say without an accompanying melody. He’s curated his words in such a way that brings him out of the notorious rockstar character the public sees him without sounding whiny. He’s very much, in every positive sense of the word, human.

Liam Gallagher performs live in SM MOA Arena, Manila

The remaining songs in his set were dedicated to “fans of Oasis”: “D’You Know What I Mean”, “Slide Away”, “Be Here Now”, and an encore performance. He ended his show with an acoustic rendition of “Wonderwall” and phone flashlights popped up one by one like bright stars in the sky.

Phone lights are raised during Liam Gallagher live in SM MOA Arena, Manila

At that point, I unsurprisingly couldn’t even hear my own singing anymore. Totally okay with me though, as it felt good hearing him say the word Oasis without adding an insult aimed at his brother, Noel.

The Star Who Shines

Hearing these Oasis classics (all written by Noel, by the way) live took me back to my slightly defective teenage years and I couldn’t help but get emotional. My high school years were a strange time; while everyone freaked out over the new Chris Brown, my green fifth generation iPod Nano contained albums from artists that were either dead, disbanded, or in their 40s (the JoBros albums were the only ones that made me feel like a normal teenybopper). I found comfort in this particular Oasis B-Side, “Half the World Away”, and it has literally grown with me. This Noel-led song has always managed to remain relevant no matter what phase I am in my life, and that’s why I have an intense heartfelt love for the band.

Liam Gallagher performs live in SM MOA Arena, Manila

My dream-like state crumbled upon his departure from the stage and the flickering of the arena lights. His set was short and sweet, and even if he didn’t play “Live Forever”, I was happy. I didn’t attend his show to hear an all-Oasis set and I’m relieved I didn’t; I went there to see Liam Gallagher as Liam Gallagher, not Liam Gallagher as the lead singer of Oasis. He remains to be a star who shines—a true rock ‘n’ roll star.