Review: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds (Obelisk Arena)
Between the banter and the controversy, there actually are beautiful performances
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To his shock, Noel Gallagher opens his set to a half-empty Arena, with most fans filling up the BBC Radio 6 Music Stage expecting a 'surprise guest' (a hint tipped by Olly from Years & Years). Most people are expecting Florence + The Machine, and as instruments such as windchimes enter the stage, it's looking likely. However, with 5 minutes to go until SBTRKT are due to turn up, most people leave SBTRKT (resulting in a now half empty BBC Radio 6 Music Stage) to see Noel Gallagher.
When the Arena starts to fill up more, so does Gallagher's banter. Between songs there are constant knocks to The Guardian (including one joke where Gallagher renames the Oasis hit 'Champagne Supernova' a new title of 'Champagne Supersocialist') and even a moment where he calles the Royal Family 'a bunch of neo-nazi sympathisers'.
When requested by a fan to perform Oasis-hit Live Forever, famously performed by his rival brother, he exclaims, "There's no chance in the world that will happen. If you go to the merch stand and buy every single piece of merchandise there, even the sh*tty girls T-Shirts, then I'll bring you up and we'll do it as a duet". As you can imagine, there's no performance of Live Forever.
However, between the banter and the controversy, there are beautiful performances. Renditions of Champagne Supernova set the crowd on fire, Whatever was also well received and closing the set with Don't Look Back In Anger was an expert decision.
For some of Gallagher's better known original work, such as AKA... What A Life, Ballad of the Mighty I and Riverman the crowd sing along in similar manner as they do the Oasis hits - but for much of his other work, it almost feels like a different set altogether, with the crowd leaving Gallagher to sing the harmonies.
Gallagher stays in his mod-like coat through-out the set, reminding the listeners of his diva-nature - he's prepared to end the set at any point, if the audience don't play along (especially when he calls Latitude Festival, 'a festival for farmers and meat killers'). His set ends on time, at 11.00pm, ensuring that there's no encore.
It's an experience that everybody should have at least once in their life - but next time, before seeing Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds, make sure you listen to more of his original work.
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