It's moments before bad boy Mancunian rocker Liam Gallagher takes the stage and the tanked, heaving Auckland crowd is already mad for it.

Football chants ring out and groups of mainly middle-aged men (many balding and British) burst into impromptu choruses of Oasis classics Stop Crying Your Heart Out and Don't Look Back in Anger as we await the main act.

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The atmosphere at Spark Arena is building fast as the tech crew clears the stage and the lights dim.


My mate, an Oasis disciple who once dragged his wife to see the band on their honeymoon in Hong Kong, surveys the crowd and whispers: "I reckon there's going to be some lager flying tonight."

He's soon proved right.

As Gallagher swaggers on to the scratchy opening riffs of Rock 'n' Roll Star, a full cup of Heineken is tossed high above the mosh pit, drenching his devotees.

It's on.

More than a quarter of a century after Oasis burst on to the music scene with their chart-topping debut album Definitely Maybe, the band's charismatic front man is still belting out the hits with both barrels.

The 47-year-old's 90-minute set is a rollicking wander through the best of the '90s and early 2000s super tunes that made Oasis global superstars but also tore the wonderfully talented Gallagher brothers apart.

Dressed in his trademark parka jacket, the hood of which remains up the entire show, Gallagher is full of sneering rock star attitude, bravado and obscenities.

Gallagher's big brother Noel opened for U2 a few weeks ago at Mt Smart Stadium. Photo / Supplied
Gallagher's big brother Noel opened for U2 a few weeks ago at Mt Smart Stadium. Photo / Supplied

He heckles the home crowd about their nation's proud name.


"What's up New Zealand? You've been milking this New Zealand shit for years. What's f…en new about it, eh?"

If there's any offence taken it doesn't show. The crowd roars as Gallagher's polished band smashes through Halo and Wall of Glass.

Announcing Shockwave, Gallagher fires a shot at any music journalists in the crowd who might think the title is "out of order" given New Zealand's recent natural calamities.

"Put your f…en pen down. It's just f…en music."

"Rock 'n' Roll" is fittingly emblazoned on the stage and there's a nod to Gallagher's beloved Manchester football team – City, not United.

Much of his performance is spent prone, hands behind his back, leaning into the microphone in his unique drawling delivery, then surveying the crowd with brooding disdain.


At times Gallagher – clutching his tambourine or maracas - looks like he's willing some drunken punter to take him on so he can bust someone's head open.

But it's all an act. He's actually a charming performer with a sharp sense of humour and shows humility and appreciation of his thousands of adoring fans.

The gig weaves singles from his two recent solo albums, As You Were and Why Me? Why Not, both of which received critical acclaim while soaring to number one in the charts.

Liam Gallagher performs at Auckland's Spark Arena. Photo / Supplied
Liam Gallagher performs at Auckland's Spark Arena. Photo / Supplied

But it's the old school hits the crowd is here to see and Gallagher – like his big brother Noel who opened a few weeks back for U2 at Mt Smart Stadium - doesn't disappoint.

"Are there any f…en Oasis fans here tonight?" the younger Gallagher asks. "Do we have any old f…ers in the house?"

The crowd comes to life as What's the Story, Columbia and Stand By Me pour out of the sometimes muffled sound system.


The band changes things up with a psychedelic rendition of Gas Panic! then lifts the rafters with stone cold hit Wonderwall, Gallagher offering up the mic for a mass singalong chorus.

After a stage left exit the crowd demands his return and the encore is well worth the wait.

Acquiesce, Roll With It and Supersonic have an already devoted gathering jumping in unison and begging for more.

Gallagher closes with a wonderful stripped down piano version of Champagne Supernova, then treats his fans to a second encore with Cigarettes & Alcohol.

"This is my last gig of the decade and I'm proud to do it with you lot," he gushes in his only vulnerable moment of the show. "Cause you're nice people."

After tossing his percussion instruments into the heaving pit and setting off a mini riot, he's gone.


And so are his Oasis-adoring parka monkeys.