It’s nearly 14 years since Oasis imploded on that infamous night in Paris and now more than ever, calls to reform “The Big O” – as Liam has called them – are growing increasingly louder. Blur’s Graham Coxon has been lobbying heavily for their return in recent months while Damon Albarn has gone as far to say he would “put money” on their Britpop rivals finally reuniting.
Yet while Blur and Pulp continue to lap up their own comeback tours, Liam and Noel Gallagher’s public squabbling shows no sign of abating as they continue to trade bitter barbs over any possibility of a comeback.
In the meantime, Gallagher and his High Flying Birds – Gem Archer, Mike Rowe, Russell Pritchard and Chris Sharrock – have some unfinished business of their own to attend to. After complaining that songs from his new album ‘Council Skies’ have been going down terribly with audiences in the US, tonight, aside from recent singles ‘Pretty Boy’ (minus Johnny Marr) and ‘Easy Now’, the crowd at Crystal Palace greet the likes of the excellent ‘Open The Door, See What You Find’ and the album’s title track with a bemused shrug.
“For those of you that know, they were songs from my new album,” Gallagher moodily jibes before he asks: “I suppose you’ve all streamed it? Who’s actually bought it? About 25 people.”
Despite that, older gems like ‘AKA… What A Life’, ‘You Know We Can’t Go Back’ and ‘In The Heat Of The Moment’ are welcomed like old friends, as is the unlikely ‘Who Built The Moon?’ bonus track ‘Dead In The Water’ which sees Noel and his acoustic guitar backed by soothing piano keys while his vocals powerfully fill the South Facing Festival field.
But nothing compares to the reception he receives in the second half of the show that is packed with Oasis B-sides and classics. Huge cheers greet ‘The Importance Of Being Idle’, ‘The Masterplan’, ‘Half The World Away’ and a stunning ‘Live Forever’ which is made all the more poignant when he dedicates it to Sinéad O’Connor.
Add to that a solid cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Quinn The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)’, the inevitable crowd pleasing closer ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ and it’s a job well done by the chief and his High Flying Birds. Whether Oasis get back together over the next year remains to be seen. For now, Gallagher senior still makes a pretty good substitute. Plus he’s a damn sight better than any AI replication of the band.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds played:
‘Open the Door, See What You Find’
‘We’re Gonna Get There In The End’
‘You Know We Can’t Go Back’
‘We’re On Our Way Now’
‘In The Heat of the Moment’
‘If I Had A Gun…’
‘AKA… What A Life!’
‘Dead In The Water’
‘The Importance Of Being Idle’
‘Half The World Away’
‘Little By Little’
‘Quinn The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)’
‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’