MTV Unplugged: It's Now Mr Liam Gallagher's Turn
On August 1st, 1981, the birth of something quite spectacular occurred: MTV was born. It was revolutionary that you could watch music videos round the clock teamed with a bit of banter from bright video jockeys in-between. Suddenly it was essential to produce eye-catching visuals with releases that helped propel artists into superstardom. MTV Europe followed in 87, and if you were lucky enough to have more than the humble four channels, or at least crash a pal's, it became part of everyday life and cemented in popular culture; it was a magical thing to have access to so much musical art. The channel had to adapt somewhat in our changing world with videos at the touch of our fingertips, but its name and branding are, and always will be, legendary.
Adding to their respected repertoire, in 1989 the channel created MTV Unplugged, offering a chance for influential names to strip back their work with an intimate approach. It proved to be a phenomenal success, to say the least, with many going down in history, such as Nirvana, Lauren Hill, and Mariah Carey. In the setting of Royal Festival Hall, London in 96, it was the turn of indie heroes Oasis, where the historical quote was uttered: "Liam ain't gonna be with us 'cause he's got a sore throat, so you're stuck with the ugly four." And with that Liam’s opportunity was gone. However, in life, you never truly know, and sometimes things take turns in the most unexpected of ways. Gallagher seized his chance last summer, and he grabbed it with both hands.
In the fiery tones of Hull City hall, Liam took the stage where the atmosphere matched the lighting: warm and sincere. The ten songs are a mix of Oasis and his own, which is how he likes to play it on tours, claiming his ownership and acknowledgment of where he has got to today because of them. ‘Yes, Hull' is called out as we proceed to Wall Of Glass: the song that kicked off the rise of Gallagher as a solo artist. The guitar sounds in fine fettle as does the addition of three powerfully tuneful women, who then proceeded to accompany him on his tour. Their ooohs with the organ is a charming sound and an attractive start. The honesty of Now That I’ve Found You topped with Liam's singing feels sunny and One Of Us is a robust example of where the 24-piece Urban Soul Orchestra sounds sweepingly beautiful.
Gorgeous strings adorn Stand By Me, where nothing builds or evolves; it’s a steady stream of emotive sound. Originally a demo, Sad Song is an exclusive addition where Bonehead is invited on stage, achieving the feat of being the only person to ever perform twice on Unplugged. You can tell Liam digs Once as it holds the philosophies he lives by, and it leads us to the close where masterpiece Champagne Supernova rings out. This is performed best as an epic 90's feast for the ears, but here it provokes a few tears.
Chants of Liam come through the whole piece, which has captured that MTV spirit entirely. Thousands of fans reserved their first listen of the album for Tim Burgess' Twitter Listening Party, where it was obvious to see how overwhelmed the rock star is by his success and holds immense gratitude. It's like what I said about the unknown journey of life, never would I have believed dancing to She’s Electric as a young teen, that I would listen to an album with its creator as we all type our thoughts. Liam Gallagher always believed that the universe would get him there, and this emotive celebration adds to his history.
Article by Beverley Knight