Dublin Olympia Theatre, Sunday 23rd October
Anyone walking in four songs late to [a]Noel Gallagher[/a]’s debut show with his [b]High Flying Birds[/b] could be forgiven for thinking it had all gone the same way as United in the Manchester derby hours earlier. “[i]That is piss poor, that is[/i]” he spits as boos ring out among the United fans in Dublin’s Olympia Theatre in response to his gloating. “[i]You should be proud of yourselves booing a man on his first gig[/i].”
However, you’d be wide of the mark in thinking Noel’s high-flying solo career had been shot down at the first hurdle. Throughout a 20-song set that includes nine [a]Oasis[/a] songs and one brand new tune (“[i]you won’t have heard this one before[/i]”) the atmosphere in the 1,600-capacity Olympia is feverish, the anticipation palpable. Just hours after his beloved Man City won 6-1, Noel and his new cohorts – Tim Smith (guitar), Russell Pritchard (bass), Mike Rowe (keyboards) and Jeremy Stacey (drums) – walk out to City anthem ‘[b]Blue Moon[/b]’ to complete what Noel later calls “[i]a momentous evening[/i]”.
Certainly, someone up beyond the highest of flying birds is making sure the transition from [a]Oasis[/a] guitarist stage-left to solo star front-and-centre is one huge celebration. This is as rapturously received a live debut as Noel could have ever hoped for. ‘[b](It’s Good) To Be Free[/b]’ has fans hurriedly reading into its choice as his live opener. Played with a full band, it’s the first of a number of [a]Oasis[/a] songs given a subtle reworking and a shift of its original melody. If there were any pre-gig nerves then they only show in Noel’s reluctance to address his audience. It isn’t until ‘[b]If I Had A Gun…[/b]’ – dedicated to wife Sara – that he responds to the continuous chants of his name.
With tickets outside earlier trading hands for upwards of £150, those present are given more than the chance to be the very first to sing back his latest anthems. They’re also the first to hear ‘[b]Freaky Teeth[/b]’, a psychedelic stomper that dates back to 2008 when Noel told NME he’d just written a tune “[i]that’d make a fucking great Bond theme[/i]”. ‘[b]Wonderwall[/b]’ soon follows, chalked down by many as one of the “[i]four or five[/i]” Oasis songs he had promised. This is less the case with ‘[b]Supersonic[/b]’, aired acoustically, and a rare full band version of ‘[b]Talk Tonight[/b]’. By the time ‘[b]The Importance Of Being Idle[/b]’ is met with utter euphoria, Noel is cracking his first wide-eyed smile of the night, remarking how the 90-minute set has “[i]felt like only 10 minutes[/i]”.
Flying solo and flying high – as The Chief himself admits, he really “[i]couldn’t have picked a better place to start[/i]”.
This article originally appeared in the November 5th issue of NME