Live Report: Liam Gallagher + John Squire – O2 Forum Kentish Town, London

Mesmerising psychedelic rock with bluesy overtones...

The warm blues structures are mainly assigned to the first part of Manchester legends Liam Gallagher and John Squire’s debut album, this tour sees the creative partners shake up the running order to mesmeric effect.  

A sold out Forum, the North London venue is heaving. Packed with dedicated fans, friends, family and industry, there is an undeniable appetite for what is about to play out, a performance by the most talked about partnership music has to offer right now. 

On an evening where new ideas meet existing ones across ten tracks and an encore, it’s clear to see how traditions become traditions for a reason, as the fans’ “Li-am Li-am Li-am” chants persist for the duration of the show. 

A friend of the singer, special guest Jake Bugg’s scintillating, acoustic twelve-track presentation is fulfilling. Few genres or guitar techniques ever seem undoable to the Nottingham born songwriter, who excites with focused setlist moments such as ‘Trouble Town’, ‘Simple As this’, ‘Two Fingers’ and ‘Lightning Bolt’, preparing just about everyone for the anticipated headliner.

Soaring opener ‘Just Another Rainbow’ is also a visually breathtaking few minutes for onlookers, where a broadly lit colour scheme is projected across the stage. The catchy ‘One Day at A Time’ demonstrates the longevity of Gallagher’s vocal force, before powerful ethos are witnessable on ‘I’m a Wheel’. Barrie Cadogan is a pertinent addition to this project, and the blues informed guitar player’s efforts provide a notable contribution.

From the start of the concert there’s an energy, which only continues to increase. The Jimi Hendrix resounding ‘I Love You Forever’ is a voluminous instant, which sees Squire deliver a seamless, virtuoso solo. The guitar led ordeal is not quite over, as cosy, yet ethereal elements are brought together on ‘Make It Up As You Go Along’, and in the same vein, ‘You’re Not the Only One’.

Elsewhere, ‘Mars To Liverpool’ is an addictive, upbeat scenario, and the hymnal quality of ‘Mother Nature’s Song’ elevates the event. It’s an ideal way to wrap up, just before the crowd is treated to Rolling Stones cover ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’, a slick conclusion to tonight’s affair.  

An electrifying live experience all around, with no disappointment to report, tonight’s concert brings joy to the crowd. In a case where fifty minutes aren’t seen as being enough, the expansive solos and playful imaginative input help alleviate such concerns. 

As fifty minutes of soulful, bluesy rock ‘n’ roll goods are delivered in line with real musicianship, the show looks set to stay in the minds of many for the foreseeable future, which is no minor deal.  

Words: Susan Hansen
Photography: Liz Gander

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