It didn’t take the beadiest or most eagle-like of eyes to spot what was missing at Liam Gallagher’s first solo show at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena last night.
His debut solo album, As You Were, was given a good showing, with three-quarters of the dozen tracks making up its standard edition being featured.
Gallagher was also happy to look back in anything but anger over his 18 years as frontman of Oasis, dipping into their back catalogue for eight of the 17 songs he and his eight-strong backing band played.
The five years between Oasis splitting up in 2009 and Gallagher disbanding his follow-up act, Beady Eye, in 2014 to go solo didn’t get a look-in, however.
The Manchester-born 45-year-old was playing one Beady Eye song, namely Soul Love, in festival sets over the summer and into September, but even that token representation has now been ditched, and, to be honest, it’s doubtful that any of the 11,000-strong capacity crowd at the arena yesterday will have missed that memento of those disappointing days.
It’s not hard to see why Gallagher has airbrushed that bit of his history out of his setlists either now he’s made the step back up from academies to sold-out arenas and notched up his first No 1 since the last Oasis album, Dig Out Your Soul, topped the charts back in 2008.
All of his new material was given a warm welcome last night, and a couple of his solo tunes – For What It’s Worth, most notably – prompted singalongs suggesting they’re already well on their way to being fan favourites, if not quite a latter-day Wonderwall or Live Forever.
Gallagher has come in for a bit of stick for relying so heavily on Oasis hits written by his elder brother Noel to keep audiences happy this time round, after dispensing with them completely for the first of his two Beady Eye shows at the nearby O2 Academy in 2011 and only throwing a couple into the mix next time round in 2013, but it’s hard to dispute his right to do so.
“He wrote them, I made them,” asserted the younger Gallagher during one of an unending succession of Twitter disputes this week, and he’s got a point.
He certainly made them his own last night, though pretty much as they were in his Oasis days, albeit minus the youthful snarl and sneer of days gone by, and without recourse to reinvention or alternative arrangement.
From set opener Rock’n’Roll Star through to the last of his three encores, Live Forever, both taken from the first Oasis album, 1994’s Definitely Maybe, the parka-clad Gallagher was given a rapturous welcome back for his first show in the city for four years and his first at the arena since 2005.
“It’s been a long time, Newcastle. You’ve been on my mind, though,” he told us.
On the evidence of last night, it is very much to be hoped that he wasn’t just saying that and that it’s not such a long time until he next returns.