Beady Eye @ Abbey Road: Liam Proves He's Still The Voice Of My Generation

In the heart of the world's greatest studio, it was an honour to see my hero and his band rattle through tracks off their newest album...
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In the heart of the world's greatest studio, it was an honour to see my hero and his band rattle through tracks off their newest album...

I first saw Beady Eye supporting the Roses at Heaton Park last summer. Far from falling in love with their debut album, I was struck live by how much Liam still meant it, spitting out songs such as 'Four Letter Word' with a burning intent of having been wronged.


When the opportunity to see Beady Eye arose, the enticement was not the promotional purpose of hearing songs from the forthcoming album BE, but the chance to see a generation's greatest frontman in The Beatles' front room.

Tourists hang around outside Abbey Road Studios, as permanent as the graffiti which stains the walls. The sun has decided to shine and its a beautiful evening in St John's Wood. You could even call it summer. Inside, black and white pictures of the legends who've been before adorn the security guarded corridors I pass on my way to the bar.

The doors swing open as I walk towards them, and Liam bowls out. He and his assistant look for a bag he's misplaced. I grab a Peroni as he walks back through and up into the garden. A fanboy shakes his hand and asks for a picture. As does another. I wonder how many times this happens to him every day, before adding to the tally myself.

It's a brief moment, but one I had to permit the fourteen year old me to have (though he'd struggle to recognise the bald fella of thirty in the picture with his hero).

We're soon ushered down into Studio 3, birthplace of Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon'. The room is majestic and comparatively tiny to the stadiums and fields the fourteen year old boy stood at the back of to see his first musical heroes.

The hundred or so people in the audience smile, well aware of their fortune as the band are introduced and take to their stools. Gem Archer and Andy Bell pick up the acoustic guitars, flanked by drums and keyboards.

It's immediately unusual to see Liam sitting down for a performance. Recalling acoustic 'sit down' versions of 'Live Forever' and 'Stand By Me' by some other band, I'm encouraged.

They open with 'Second Bite of the Apple'. A slow, stripped back intro of drums and bass are joined by vocals and the verses flow invitingly before reaching the chorus, "the word is up if you're tough enough".

"All I know is you can be, anything you want to be" in 'Soul Love' is just too easy. Without ever reaching the cringe of 'Little James', the lyrics detract from the songs as the ears notice another word that has been used just because it rhymes.

However, 'Start Anew' is a beautiful longing for another chance with a loved one. Liam's vocals are fantastic. Lennon, yes, but no less sincere. As the chorus is repeated one too many times, an easily forgotten fact rises to the fore;

At the root of it all, Liam Gallagher is still a fucking brilliant singer.

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This is confirmed with 'Soon Come Tomorrow'. Things are a little different here. Far from experimental, it's low key, with Liam's vocals pushed to the front and a jagged verse that works with the question: "What kind of love burns a hole in your heart?"

'Don't Brother Me' will be the focal point of interviews promoting the album: "Don't brother me when they're done, I'm sick of all your lying, your scheming and your crying".

With an endearing honesty, Liam is clearly still rankled by the split, but offers an olive branch which will do little to dampen talks of a reunion pay day.

"In the morning, I'll be calling and hoping you understand, all or nothing, I'll keep pushing, come on now, give peace a chance."

'Ballroom Figured' is the stand out track of the night, and dons the No.10 shirt on the album. Like the finest points of the evening (and perhaps the album) the formula is simple. An acoustic guitar and that voice, here no more than ten feet away. Noel is referenced once more ("Did you ever loan me that song? Did you ever know me at all?") before Oasis is wonderfully summarised  as "the ride of our lives".

Talk of experiment has perhaps been overstated. Yes, 'Shine a Light' ends with a space laser fight and the impressive new single 'Flick of the Finger' closes a magical evening with a spoken word sample, but each song remains soaked in The Beatles. You've either long since accepted that, or moved on. Songs like 'Iz Rite' and 'I'm Just Saying' echo the Scousers' earlier period, and are enjoyable if nothing more.

BE won't change your world, but the singer has already done that one.  It does, however, seem set to eclipse it's predecessor because good songwriting has been leant heavily up against Beady Eye's finest asset;

The voice of Liam Gallagher.

The set is available to listen to via the Absolute Radio website from 9pm on Thursday