Review: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at Metro Radio Arena

TWO days after his performance at the Brit Awards, Noel Gallagher was in Newcastle to perform a sell-out gig.

TWO days after his performance at the Brit Awards, Noel Gallagher was in Newcastle to perform a sell-out gig.

Although initially appearing on stage illuminated by a single spotlight, the former Oasis songwriter and guitarist wasn’t alone; he had his High Flying Birds with him. Bass, lead guitar, drums and keyboard were bolstered by a choir, the Hertfordshire Chorus, plus a three-strong brass section to recreate the sound on his chart-topping debut solo album.

But the 20-song set, which featured much swapping of guitars, kicked off with Oasis songs, (It’s Good) To Be Free and Mucky Fingers, before moving on to the new material with Everybody’s On The Run.

Claiming to be “sweating Champagne” after a night out that had continued until 5am that morning, Gallagher was in fine form. My brother, a veteran of Oasis concerts, reckons Gallagher senior doesn’t fill the stage like his little brother Liam, but he had no problems engaging the crowd.

There were football taunts and banter about the renamed St James’ Park but the audience forgave him, at one point breaking into chants of “legend”.

“To be a legend you’ve got to be dead for 20 years – at least that’s what my daughter reckons,” said Gallagher. “We’ll have none of this legend nonsense, now go and buy a T-shirt on the way out.”

He might have joked it was all about the merchandise not the music but the crowd would have disagreed. New song If I Had A Gun, about a quarter of the way through the set, had everyone singing, as did an acoustic version of Oasis classic Supersonic and Half the World Away.

The new material went down well, including the rocky Freaky Teeth which isn’t on the High Flying Birds album, but it was the well-loved Oasis tunes that had grown men flinging one arm around their mates, pointing at Gallagher with the other and singing their hearts out.

The encore of Little By Little, The Importance of Being Idle and Don’t Look Back In Anger – was pure Oasis, but given the strength of his solo material, it’s unlikely that will remain the case for long.

 

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