Stale and not a patch on Oasis
Beady Eye, Olympia Theatre
"Don't be scared, Dublin, I ain't gonna bite ... " Indeed, Liam Gallagher knows all too well that things aren't what they used to be. The last time Beady Eye played here, two years after Oasis' 2009 split, grown men almost wept.
Tonight, the fans are queuing at the bar. Not all of them, of course, but enough to let us know what's what. Big brother is not watching anymore. Nor is Liam's wife, Nicole Appleton. Familial spats, costly divorce proceedings – is it enough to drive "our kid" off his game? Nope. But the tunes would break anyone's spirit.
Beady Eye (Oasis without Noel, basically) have never been great on record. But they stuck around – and so did we. If only to see how the next chapter in the magnificent Gallagher soap opera might unfold. Now that they are on their second album, the shine has worn off.
Curiously, Liam (41) carries a towel for most of tonight's gig (Noel would never have allowed that). It might be a security blanket. A couple of times, he takes a seat in front of drummer Chris Sharrock's kit. As if he's tired, like.
"Liam-O, Liam-O," shout the fans. But the sense of occasion is gone. Liam and his boys (an acceptable Gem Archer and Andy Bell on guitars) are just ... there.
It starts with a whimper, and it ends with a bad Rolling Stones cover (Gimmer Shelter). In the past, some have mistaken Liam's trademark nonchalance for charisma. No such worries here. Beady Eye's frontman is still hunched over a microphone, and he's still wearing a parka. But it's not like the old days.
Second album BE's flaccid ingredients (Flick of the Finger and Start Anew included) make for a watery, largely insignificant set. It's no surprise that there are a couple of Oasis numbers in the mix. Cigarettes & Alcohol picks up the pace, but the gang's stale, busker-like take on Live Forever disappoints.
There are a few flashes of brilliance. The Roller and Bring the Light remind us just how excited this band used to sound. For the most part, however, the lads are just going through the motions.
In the future, this will all be an unremarkable footnote in the Oasis timeline. "Dublin, you've been the bollocks," announces Liam after 80 minutes. Whatever you say, pal. See you at the big reunion.