Liam Gallagher opens the Taylor Hawkins Tribute concert

Liam Gallagher was the first musical artist to perform on Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert in London.

The previous Oasis frontman convincingly opened the show at Wembley with a two-song set, accompanied by the surviving members of Foo Fighters.

Gallagher hit the stage after Dave Grohl and his bandmates quietly moved on to a long standing ovation that brought the frontman to tears — especially when the crowd started chanting “Taylor, Taylor.”

“Ladies and gentlemen,” he finally said, “tonight we are gathered here to celebrate the life, music and love of our deaf friend, our bandmate, our brother, Taylor Hawkins. For those who knew him, you know , that no one else could make you smile or laugh or dance or sing like he could.For those who admired him from afar, I’m sure you all felt the same.

“So tonight we’ve gathered family and his closest friends, his musical heroes and biggest inspirations to bring you a giant goddamn night for a goddamn goddamn person. So sing and dance and laugh and cry and scream and make some goddamn noise , so he can hear us right now. Because you know what, it’s going to be a long damn night, isn’t it? Are you ready… Are you bloody ready?”

With a simple name check, Gallagher hit the stage, by which time the YouTube live stream had already taken over $10,000 in contributions to the MusiCares Trust. “Taylor fucking Hawkins!” Gallagher said as the Foo Fighters broke into the Oasis classic “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star.” His trademark swagger seemed oddly at odds with the Foos’ no-nonsense stage presentation, but it was a confident and powerful start to the show.

They followed with Oasis’ “Live Forever,” at which point Grohl already seemed like the emotional strain of the past few months was escaping via his drumming. Guitarist Chris Shifflett’s Noel Gallagher-esque playing offered another contrast to the Foos’ delivery. “Knot it!” Gallagher shouted towards the end, throwing his maracas into the crowd. “Have a good night,” he said before hugging the band and exiting the stage, with the stage surely set for a powerful, emotional night.

Ahead of the performance, Gallagher spoke glowingly of the late drummer. “He was a top lad and fantastic musician and it’s an absolute honor and privilege to open the show at Wembley,” Oasis rocks declared. “I still can’t quite believe it’s actually happening, him and his music will live forever.”

The singer’s relationship with Hawkins and the other members of Foo Fighters stretching back decades. Hawkins, who served as Alanis Morissette’s drummer from 1995-97, occasionally rubbed shoulders with the Gallagher brothers from Oasis on the road.

“It was such a fun time, 1995-96, it was great,” Hawkins recalled NME in 2016. “I remember their bus stopping outside of Ohio or New Jersey or something and seeing the two guys slapping each other, not even off the bus. We’re like, ‘Oh my God! there they are, the real deal.’ They look amazing and they beat the crap out of each other and I can’t even understand a word they’re saying.”

In the same interview, Hawkins complimented Gallagher’s voice. “That guy is such a fucking good rock singer,” he said. “When people talk about Freddie Mercury, they’re like, ‘Oh my God, he’s so outrageous’ – a lot of people just skip the actual thing about what it is that made them great. I saw that Oasis documentary [Supersonic] the other day, and there’s this part where he just singsChampagne Supernova‘ in one take in its entirety, and you’re just like, ‘Oh, damn,’ you know, the reason we all liked him in the first place is because he’s a fucking good singer. He can damn sing a rock’n’roll song, dude.”

In 2018, Gallagher revealed that NME that the Foo Fighters were interested in working with him. “They keep texting me, man,” he said. “They wanted to do one tune, but I don’t know – I’ll do it one day, but I’m too busy with this at the moment. But I like them – I think the Foo Fighters have good tunes. I think Dave Grohlis very talented and so is the band.”

After Hawkins’ death, Gallagher dedicated his performance of “Live forever” at a Teenage Cancer Trust concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall for the late drummer. Hawkins’ name also appeared on the drum kit. “This is for you, brother,” Gallagher said.

“Every time I see him, I get a big hug. I love him,” Hawkins said in 2016. “I think he’s one of the great frontmen of the last 20 years, without a doubt.”

ONE second tribute concert for Hawkins is scheduled to take place in Los Angeles on Sept. 27.

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