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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Review: The Chemical Brothers steal the show at Party in the Park

Liam Gallagher and friends drop in for Dubai's annual music festival

British singer Liam Gallagher performed at the Media City Amphitheatre. Frank Hoensch / Redferns
British singer Liam Gallagher performed at the Media City Amphitheatre. Frank Hoensch / Redferns

All eyes were on former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher on Friday night as the singer made his UAE solo debut, but it was the Chemical Brothers who stole the show in a packed out Media City Amphitheatre.

Gallagher hit the stage at about 8.15pm, bursting into life with Oasis favourite Rock ’n’ Roll Star before playing another Oasis classic Morning Glory. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand at this point, so naturally decided to spend the next half an hour playing tracks from his recently released solo album, As You Were that it is safe to assume the crowd either hadn’t heard or didn’t greatly care about. There was something of a lull until Gallagher returned to his erstwhile band’s back catalogue, eventually ending on the encore of Wonderwall to universal adulation from the packed auditorium.

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Gallagher, for the most part, gave the crowd exactly what they wanted. The Oasis favourites went down a storm, though the muted reaction to his solo numbers suggested that his future pay cheques probably lie in his back catalogue rather than any newfound song writing genius. He put on an entirely professional and entertaining show.

Lurking under the radar however, barely mentioned by the concert’s promoters in the advance publicity, were the Chemical Brothers. They were playing a DJ set, rather than a full live extravaganza, following Gallagher’s much-hyped appearance, so we had expected the auditorium to empty following the Mancunian motormouth’s departure.

From the moment DJ/producer duo Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons hit the stage to the thumping breakbeats of Brothers Gonna Work it Out, however, it was clear that no one was leaving.

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Read more:

Liam Gallagher: a life in rock'n'roll

Album review: Liam Gallagher comes into his own on debut

The Chemical Brothers join Party in the Park line-up

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The pair riffed through a two-hour set heavy on their own material and containing slices of house and techno alongside the usual breakbeat assaults. There was even (one for the spotters) a repeated sample stab of My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult's A Daisy Chain 4 Satan for good measure.

The stadium didn’t empty. In fact, it seemed to become fuller as a heaving mass of dancing bodies filled every patch of grass in the Amphitheatre.

Gallagher had performed, but the DJs that followed proved that a Noel Gallagher writing credit is not actually essential if you want to hook a crowd.

Gallagher was entertaining, managed not to offend anyone for a change and played some classic Oasis tracks that clearly pleased the crowd. Ultimately, however, the night belonged to The Chemicals Brothers.