Gig review: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

NOEL Gallagher has always been a curious paradox. One of rock’s wittiest and wisest coves, he’s also doggedly conservative when it comes to making music. For over 20 years he’s cleaved to the same quasi-glam/punk/stadium rock template, his vision far more limited than his idols, The Beatles.

From old Oasis favourites to new, Noel Gallagher's flying high. Picture: Jane Barlow
From old Oasis favourites to new, Noel Gallagher's flying high. Picture: Jane Barlow

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

SSE Hydro, Glasgow

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Then again, why tamper with a winning formula? As evinced by this rapturously received performance, the former Oasis lynchpin hasn’t lost his knack for a formidable hook. His adoring fans clearly agree. Gallagher’s current album may be titled Chasing Yesterday, but this was no mere exercise in lazy nostalgia.

While it was inevitable that the handful of old Oasis favourites – including a semi-acoustic Don’t Look Back In Anger and Champagne Supernova – elicited a huge response from this raucous arena crowd, it’s significant that solo cuts such as Everybody’s On The Run also incited lusty singalongs.

Nevertheless, in a hapless twist of irony that Gallagher would doubtless appreciate, his nominal concessions to ‘experimentalism’ – namely the underused accompaniment of the Crouch End Festival Chorus and a brass section – were all but swamped by a sound mix which pushed his vocals and basic rock combo to the fore.

But it didn’t really matter. The strength of new songs such as Riverman and You Know We Can’t Go Back – the latter worthy of imperial phase Oasis – transcend such quibbles. He’ll never move forward as such, but Noel Gallagher is quite obviously on rejuvenated form.