“Any Oasis fans here?” Noel Gallagher drily asks the midnight Mad Cool crowd. “Well,” he continues, “this one’s for you” – before launching into his recent and divisive High Flying Birds single ‘Black Star Dancing’.
Oh Noel. Whether calling out brother Liam or sparring with new nemesis Lewis ‘Chewbacca’ Capaldi, who played here just hours earlier, he’s always good for a trolling. No one is safe; least of all Oasis fans. Still, since the departure of caped crusader Charlotte Marionneau, tonight at least he spares them the scissors.
No one feels hard done by, mind. Kicking off with the psych-y cinematic prog of ‘Fort Knox’ into the Tony Christie-meets-indie-bop bounce of ‘Holy Mountain’, Noel and his High Flying Birds do well to satisfy the patience and curiosity of the scores of casual fans waiting around f0r the Britpop bangers.
The first half of the set is a stately affair showcasing Noel’s solo evolution and maturity. You can see pockets of doubters be won over and get into The Chief’s “cosmic pop” groove, especially for the warm, New Order-like glow of ‘She Taught Me How To Fly’. Later, ‘Dead In The Water’ has that everyman heart-tugging DNA that runs through the more tender Oasis moments, acting as a perfect bridge into the hit parade of classics from his former band.
Forever the ying to Liam’s yang, Noel’s latter-set run through the Oasis cuts lean more on the opulent rather than the oafish, soaring through soulful moments ‘The Importance Of Being Idle’, ‘Little By Little’ and the delicately wonderful ‘Half The World Away’. There are more people on their mates’ shoulders than not when ‘Wonderwall’, ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’, and ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ bring everyone together.
If the Noel clan reckon Liam is a “fat twat doing a tribute act”, then you can certainly sense that The High Flying Birds have made every effort to bring these songs a new life and play them in their most full-bodied fashion. Sealed with a feel-good Beatles cover to close, politics and squabbles are left at the door to see out a showcase of pure songwriting class over cartoon showmanship. All you need is love.
Noel Gallagher’s setlist was:
Keep On Reaching
It’s a Beautiful World
She Taught Me How to Fly
Black Star Dancing
Dead in the Water
The Importance of Being Idle (Oasis cover)
Little by Little (Oasis)
Half the World Away (Oasis)
Stop Crying Your Heart Out (Oasis)
AKA… What a Life!
Don’t Look Back in Anger (Oasis)
All You Need Is Love (The Beatles cover)