There we were now here we are.
Following a comeback not many could pull off, Liam Gallagher takes a moment to reflect upon his fall from grace, mourning the end of an era-defining band, the past two years, and how much Debbie saved him from himself and the tabloids.
Titled ‘As It Was’, playing on the title of hit solo album ‘As You Were’, the documentary sets out to tell us exactly how it was through Liam’s eyes. We’re introduced to the film by Manager Sam Eldridge before Liam saunters onto his stage at Alexandra Palace in typical Liam fashion, much to the delight of his crowd. Liam jokes to his fans present and watching through live link-up to try and stay awake until the end- something we hope you all manage to do through this post.
As we waited for the satellite link-up to correct itself (technology- always on hand to throw a spanner in the works) we were suddenly hit with the sheer magnitude of how much has changed. The thought of 260 cinemas across the country filled with Liam Gallagher fans, young and old, all joining to watch live is suddenly brought home. The realisation that just three years ago, this would have been unimaginable.
Directed by Charlie Lightening, the film gains access to Liam, Peggy and his childhood home with a closeness that can only be achieved by a trusted friend. The film has been made for Liam’s fans and so is limited in showing Liam’s flaws except for his own self-critique. “I know how great I am; I know how shit I am”, he doesn’t shy away from showing his best and worst qualities- often difficult to tell apart. The reckless, do-what-I-want-because-I’m-a-rock-and-roll-star attitude both created Liam Gallagher: the iconic frontman, and Liam Gallagher: the walking scandal and low hanging fruit for the tabloids.
The documentary features girlfriend and publicist Debbie Gwyther confirming this sentiment as she explains how Liam was his own worst enemy and “brought a lot of it [negative press] on himself”. Debbie’s presence is felt throughout the documentary; before Liam tells us how Debbie gave him the nudge he needed, we are already shown footage of her always at his side. In some ways, the film is a public thank you and declaration of love to Debbie who picks Liam up during his darkest time.
Another individual who makes more than just an appearance is lesser known Gallagher brother, Paul. Rather than just speaking as Liam’s brother, he notes of his own role during Liam’s fall from glory and being a key individual who recognised Liam may have created a hit solo song. “From what I know about the music industry”- well that’s news to us Paul. We can see Paul cares about his brother but each time his segments came up, we could not help but see them as interruptions from the main story as he justifies his own relevance to the narrative. If there are any Paul Gallagher fans amongst you (1. Really? 2. We begrudgingly apologise if this has offended you).
Of course, the film would not be complete without more than one dig at brother Noel. Liam visits his family home and can’t help but stop to mock Noel and Sara’s photo on Peggy’s wall. A heart-warming moment is shared as Peggy shrugs in response and looks to the camera as if to say, “that’s my Liam”. Peggy also predicts/asks hopefully that all her boys will be reunited by the end of the year. Oh Peggy, we share your pain we all want that too. Noel is painted as having abandoned Liam who was “Oasis until the day I die” a sentiment that seems to still ring true.
Overall, the documentary teases at delving deeper into Liam’s demons (those that haven’t been played out in the papers) but quickly moves onto his climb back to the top, his tribute at Manchester ‘One Love’ concert and his deep commitment to having a strong relationship with his kids. By the end of the film we are left more committed to the cult of Liam than before and we are reminded that whilst not considered a highlight, Beady Eye had some great tracks. We would recommend this documentary- not just as Liam fans but for anyone who appreciates great cinematography, style and Liam’s particular rhetoric- d’ya know what I mean?
As You Were, Digsy’s Corner.
*image credit: ‘Liam Gallagher As It Was’ Promo Poster [Lightening Films: Charlie Lightening].