October 28, 2011
Live Review: Noel Gallagher
Dublin Olympia Theatre, Sunday 23rd October
Anyone walking in four songs late to Noel Gallagher’s debut show with his High Flying Birds could be forgiven for thinking it had all gone the same way as United in the Manchester derby hours earlier. “That is piss poor, that is” he spits as boos ring out among the United fans in Dublin’s Olympia Theatre in response to his gloating. “You should be proud of yourselves booing a man on his first gig.”
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 Oasis songs and one brand new tune (“you won’t have heard this one before”) 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 ‘Blue Moon’ to complete what Noel later calls “a momentous evening”.
Certainly, someone up beyond the highest of flying birds is making sure the transition from Oasis 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. ‘(It’s Good) To Be Free’ has fans hurriedly reading into its choice as his live opener. Played with a full band, it’s the first of a number of Oasis 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 ‘If I Had A Gun...’ – 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 ‘Freaky Teeth’, a psychedelic stomper that dates back to 2008 when Noel told NME he’d just written a tune “that’d make a fucking great Bond theme”. ‘Wonderwall’ soon follows, chalked down by many as one of the “four or five” Oasis songs he had promised. This is less the case with ‘Supersonic’, aired acoustically, and a rare full band version of ‘Talk Tonight’. By the time ‘The Importance Of Being Idle’ is met with utter euphoria, Noel is cracking his first wide-eyed smile of the night, remarking how the 90-minute set has “felt like only 10 minutes”.
Flying solo and flying high – as The Chief himself admits, he really “couldn’t have picked a better place to start”.
This article originally appeared in the November 5th issue of NME
Subscribe here and get NME for £1 a week, or get this week's digital issue
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday
- Previous Track Review: This Week's Singles Reviewed (31/10/11)
- Next Album Review : Album Review: King Midas Sound - 'Without you'