There doesn’t seem to be much of a musical connection between Prince and Noel Gallagher, beyond a certain psychedelic infusion in their work.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
But with news of the former’s death breaking in the lead-up to the concert, this was one high flying bird who demanded to be acknowledged, first by lovable and supremely talented support band Super Furry Animals, whose dedication to invention, eccentricity and theatricality felt like a fitting homage, and then with a stately portrait on the big screen as Gallagher and his band of blokes took to the stage to the strains of Let’s Go Crazy. Enough said.
Except that wasn’t quite enough, as Gallagher later urged the crowd to sing Oasis classic Live Forever over his spare acoustic backing in honour of the departed legend. It was emotional, as that song always has the potential to be, but only moreso for the lack of inspiration across much of the rest of this set.
Despite writing a host of songs of a generation, Gallagher Sr is not an arresting frontman, and there was no hiding the stodge at the heart of his solo material, despite the embellishing efforts of a brass section and the Crouch End Festival Chorus.
Selective Oasis tracks, when deployed, were so obviously in a different league. Even Champagne Supernova’s “slowly walking down the hall, faster than a cannonball” felt like lyrical manna raining down on a singalong starved crowd. The one exception was the propulsive piano house backing and simple, soaring vocal hookline of AKA…What A Life! to point the way forward.