South London’s all-female quartet, Goat Girl, were first on stage at Hampden Park and despite many fans yet to arrive, the half-full stadium gave them a warm Glasgow welcome. With the wide stage positioned at the half-way line staring at an expectant Hampden you could forgive Goat Girl for being nervous. They weren’t. Clottie Cream (lead vocals/guitar), L.E.D (guitar/vocals), Hollie Hole (Bass) and Rosy Bones (drums) took us on a post-punk, synth-infused journey, albeit a short one. In their well-received set they delivered songs that hit hard lyrically and don’t shy away from everyday realities. None more-so than The Crack from their 2021 sophomore album On All Fours. Here, Goat Girl tackle the immediate threat that humans pose on the world and how leaving earth may be the only way out, as Clottie Cream exclaims ‘The people make their way to space/the people make their way away’. By this point the people around the stadium were steadily making their way inside, some lucky enough to catch Goat Girls’ final, and perhaps best, song – Sad Cowboy. A song delving into the complexities of anxiety and how it can take control – ‘Slippin’ my hold/it comes and goes’. This synth-driven closer built up beautifully and its psychedelic charm certainly wasn’t lost on this crowd. A parting shot of ‘Fuck the Tories, off with his head’ from Clottie Cream done their popularity no harm in Glasgow’s South side. It would be fair to say that the Glasgow crowd of Parka Monkeys and Rock Junkies only had two bands in mind when they arrived this afternoon. However, Goat Girl can be confident that they have picked up a few more fans today – myself for one.
Regular Hampden punters would have been more than familiar with the music blasting from the PA as they waited on Kasabian to take to the stage. Baccara’s 1977 hit Yes Sir, I Can Boogie provided the singalong to warm up the crowd’s collective vocal chords, although what was to follow could hardly be described as a boogie. As Serge Pizzorno strutted on stage like a captain about to lead his team to victory, he was welcomed with the famous Hampden roar. Decked in a two-piece camouflage get-up, you could be forgiven for thinking he was heading into battle. Ironically, his camouflage gear made him the focal point as thousands of eyes lay transfixed on the newly self-appointed front man. The opening guitar riff of Club Foot announced Kasabian’s arrival, the crowd already fully invested in the hour-long set that was about to be served up. For many this would have been their first experience of Serge up front on his own but already he looked like a seasoned pro, this is a role he was made for. Arms spread wide and head tilted to the sky, he soaked up every second, feeding off the expectant masses. As the band powered through the opener, followed by a raucous Ill Ray it was clear that if anyone was made to precede the man everyone was here to see, it was Kasabian. Almost on album number seven, Kasabian may have found it challenging to choose today’s set list with so many big tunes to draw upon but it was Underdog up next. The instantly recognisable guitar intro ignited the crowd once more and already Pizzorno seemed to have covered every inch of the stage. As the exuberant frontman howled ‘Keep myself riding on this train’ it was a journey no-one wanted to end. At this point you could be forgiven for neglecting the rest of the band but that would be unfair. By now, Kasabian have moulded themselves into the tightest of units, everyone well-versed in their role in the team. In the midst of Tom Meighan’s dismissal in July 2020 and subsequent band reshuffle, they turned to Robert Harvey to join them as touring guitarist. He could not be a better fit. Fresh from two reunion shows at Glasgow’s very own Barrowland Ballroom and Leeds’ Temple Newsam Park, The Music frontman exudes presence. Guitar in hand and hood up (move over Serge, hoods are Harvey’s department), the usually animated Harvey stands just right of centre stage and owns it. Next up was You’re in Love With a Psycho from 2017’s For Crying Out Loud, the chorus lending itself to a mass singalong. Kasabian were winning. Newest song in the set, Chemicals was well received and allowed the crowd, and indeed Pizzorno, to compose themselves for the triple-header of Shoot the Runner, Stevie and Bless This Acid House. Next was Empire, the title track from their second album. Unfortunately the lyrics ‘Stop! It’s happening again!’ would resonate best of all with those still stuck outside the ground as the Hampden turnstiles once again failed to function properly, leaving hundreds frustrated at missing Kasabian’s show. Slowly filtering down the Hampden steps, some were lucky enough to make it in for Chris Edwards’ thumping bassline as Vlad the Impaler sent the crowd into a frenzy. Then it was time for L.S.F, a fans’ favourite that took the decibel level even higher, in no small part due to the crowd singalong as they batted Serge’s chants back at him. One song to go. We knew what was coming but that did not make it any less emphatic when it did. The opening bars of Fire ensued and before long, the pogoing masses resembled a gigantic game of whack-a-mole for bucket hat wearing hedonists. Robert Harvey providing the backing vocals and driving guitar during the chorus as Serge once did for Tom. This was as triumphant a support slot as you could have hoped. Serge and his team waved their goodbye’s but it was more of a see-you-later, undoubtedly many of the crowd will be back when Kasabian return to Glasgow in November. With Kasabian victorious and the final whistle blown it would soon be time for the main event. Could anyone possibly rock the camouflage look as well as Serge? Perhaps one person. Over to you Mr Gallagher.
Some people just have it. Most don’t. What even is ‘it’ ? Truth be told it’s almost impossible to define. Is it confidence? An aura? Stage-presence? Arrogance? A combination of some or all of the aforementioned? Whatever it is, Liam Gallagher has it in abundance. He has since day one. While his elder brother seems to have mellowed in his later years, Gallagher Jnr still acts as if he has something to prove. Together with his camouflage parka, he had arrived, immediately demoting Serge to second coolest man in Hampden. With (another…) two nights at Knebworth under his belt, Liam can be sure that he is still idolised and indeed still has it. After the crowds collective blast of The Stone Roses’ I am the Resurrection, Liam limbered up as Fuckin’ in the Bushes belted out. The two giant screens either side of the stage showed him swagger from back stage to be met with roars of adulation from the Hampden audience. First song Hello cranked the crowd into gear as Gallagher snarled ‘It’s good to be back!’ This was Liam’s first Glasgow outing since playing the OVO Hydro in November 2019. It was good to have him back. Next up, Rock n Roll Star, a song made for him and like most Oasis classics, written by his brother. Let’s be clear though, these songs are as much Liam’s as they are Noel’s. The crowd lapped it up and the line ‘Look at you now, you’re all in my hands tonight!’ could not have been more apt. Not that we could see his hands though as he adopted his classic Houdini straight-jacket pose, hands behind back, head tilted back, thundering out the Definitely Maybe opener. Completing the opening Oasis triple-header was none other than Morning Glory. A thumping bass drum coupled with the most recognisable of guitar bends ignited one of the highlights of the set. A collective ‘Weeeeeeeeeeeeel’ preceded the rousing chorus and already you could feel the crowd were united, young and old, veterans and newbies sharing the moment. True to character, he even still found time to request that the crowd have a pop at his brother – ‘Iv’e heard about the Hampden Roar, what about a nice Booooooooo for Noel?’ The crowd duly obliged. With the crowd onside, the next four tracks were from Liam’s solo career. Wall of Glass, his first solo effort, and Everything’s Electric were gratefully received while Better Days (complete with son Gene on Drums) and World’s in Need, slower numbers, allowed for a much-needed breather while sounding really good. Stand by Me gave reason for the next singalong as Be Here Now’s only offering set us up nicely for one of the more obscure songs from the Oasis back-catalogue. Roll it Over, the final track on 2000s Standing on the Shoulder of Giants sounded great. It is worth noting at this point how good Liam’s band sound. The guitar-heavy roster gives them a much fuller sound and as you would expect they are tight, despite the absence of Bonehead who is currently recovering from throat cancer – you can be sure he will walk straight back into the team. Fans favourite Slide Away completed this Oasis triple-header, Liam’s vocals sounding great. You would wonder how this is possible from years of, shall we say, enjoying himself and his distinct singing style but he easily holds his own. To end the main part of his set he delivered a quintuplet of his solo offerings: Soul Love and More Power lay the foundations for the impressive Diamond in the Dark, one of the strongest tracks from his latest album C’mon You Know. The River, arguably one of Liam’s finest songs preceded his best solo effort thus far – Once. Youngsters could have mistaken this for an Oasis song and you would think it was etched in the minds of fans far longer than its 2019 release date, such was the reaction. Liam must have enjoyed it, a spirited serenade that was a fitting end to the main act as he and his band left the stage. Then there was the small matter of the encore. With so many classics still up his sleeve, it began with a rip-roaring Some Might Say followed by Cigarettes and Alcohol. Every line howled back at Liam as he served up two of Oasis’ finest efforts. The penultimate track was to be Wonderwall. Say what you want about the 1995 staple, this is the song everyone knows. As it echoes around the ground there was a sudden realisation that time was almost up. Not before one more song though. Champagne Supernova was to be the final song and Liam, a man of the people and indeed of his word, dedicated it to Mij in keeping with his Twitter promise. ‘This one’s for Mij man, he’s one of your boys.’ James ‘Mij’ McGarrie, an Ayrshire father tragically took his own life in 2019. The poignant dedication made even more so by the fireworks overhead, which lit up the crowd below. Scanning the pitch it was clear to see how many fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, young and old were sharing the moment. Over 75% of the crowd must have been under 35. They would not have seen Oasis the first time around so sharing this with loved ones was special. You often hear about the metaphorical passing of the baton between bands The Stone Roses to Oasis, Oasis to… whoever… Maybe the baton isn’t passed between them, maybe it’s us who hold the baton and pass it on to the next generation. In any case, if Liam is holding one, he is not ready to let go just any time soon.