With Liam Gallagher: As It Was, directors Charlie Lightening and Gavin Fitzgerald have full access to Liam, his family, friends and colleagues, with the notable exception of Noel, who has supposedly not spoken to Liam since Oasis split in August 2009. The backstage row at Rock en Seine festival near Paris that led to their parting is discussed by Liam and others present over footage shot by fans at the cancelled gig.
Liam’s life in Oasis and his subsequent band, Beady Eye, is mentioned but the primary focus here is 2017-2018, with the rock and roll star preparing for the release of his debut solo album ‘As You Were’ and a promotional world tour. An abundance of live and behind-the-scenes footage is augmented by candid interviews with Liam, mum Peggy, older brother Paul and former Oasis guitarist Paul “Bonehead” Arthurs, among others.
The foul-mouthed Mancunian speaks movingly of trying to contact Noel to no avail. In the studio, we see Liam’s infectious enthusiasm, solid work ethic and world-class bonhomie. Familial vignettes see Liam banter with Peggy and Paul in her Burnage home and sons Lennon and Gene ride his tour bus. Partner and manager Debbie Gwyther seems a steadying presence after his marriages to Patsy Kensit and Nicole Appleton. We even see Molly, Liam’s now-adult daughter by Lisa Moorish, on a Californian walk in the hills. Until May 2018, Liam hadn’t seen Molly since she was an infant in the late ’90s.
The film is frequently hilarious and filled with profanity. Whether running up Hampstead Heath or sharing laughs with David Beckham backstage at Glastonbury in 2017, barely a minute goes by without some colourful language or a laugh-out-loud moment. If Liam had the patience for writing a stand-up routine, you sense he’d ace it.
Yet certain criticisms of As It Was are unavoidable. Though the Beady Eye and solo music we hear is fine, there is none of Liam’s best work from his Oasis days, presumably owing to Noel refusing permission to use it. Noel’s absence is a shame, but fully expected. Otherwise, this feature may come too soon after 2016’s Supersonic for some. That film comprehensively covered Oasis’ heyday and too much Liam can be exhausting. Those quibbles aside, this is uproariously entertaining stuff.