Review: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at The O2
Review by Deirdre Harrison
Photos by Kieran Frost
Selling out a venue as large as The O2 is no easy task; yet managing to sell out after you’ve left a highly successful band, which you weren’t the lead singer of, and having only released one album is a massive feat. Yet this is exactly what Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds have managed to do. With support from Cashier No 9, the elder Gallagher brother was in top form as he delivered a performance to fans new and old.
Northern Ireland appears to be producing the crème de la crème of new talent in recent times; among them is the fantastic Cashier No9, who have received great praise for their début release, the Choice nominated To The Death Of Fun. Their almost constant touring in its promotion is clearly paying off; although The O2 is a larger venue than they would usually play, the five-piece delivered an effortless set including the singles Goldstar and Oh Pity. Possibly the only band who can utilise a harmonica solo without sounding like a folk act.
As the sold out crowd gathered, anticipation grew as the lights went down and a mellow reworking of If I Had A Gun was played over the speakers. To rapturous applause and chants of “Noel, Noel, Noel”, Gallagher arrives on the stage. Picking up an acoustic guitar he makes the unexpected move of opening with two Oasis songs, (It’s Good) To Be Free and Mucky Fingers. With phones raised highly in the air the crowd sing along to every word, but it is not until Everybody’s On The Run that the crowd get the first standout point of the show. Joining Noel and the rest of his High Flying Birds on stage is a thirty piece choir; their addition really gives a more grand feeling to many of the songs but in particular those from Gallagher’s solo album.
For many the high point of the evening was the breath-taking If I Had A Gun; as stunning as it is on record, live the song reaches a whole new level. The atmosphere in the crowd was as if an old festival favourite was being performed rather than a song under a year old.
Ever the controversial yet engaging front man; the only boos of the evening were at the dedication of AKA…What A Life to all Manchester City supporters in the audience. Despite the tongue in cheek start, the performance itself was a wonderful showcase for Noel’s vocal abilities and range.
Ending the night with a four song encore comprised entirely of reworked Oasis material, final song Don’t Look Back In Anger was for many the perfect way to complete the evening. As fans stumbled out into the cold night air, many proclaiming it was as good, or even better than any Oasis show they had seen, there was a feeling that we all had witnessed an early contender for gig of the year.
(It’s Good) To Be Free
Everybody’s On The Run
If I Had A Gun
The Good Rebel
The Death Of You And Me
AKA…What A Life
Soldier Boys & Jesus Freaks
Half The World Away
Stranded On The Wrong Beach
Little By Little
The Importance Of Being Idle
Don’t Look Back In Anger
Noel Gallaghers High Flying Birds Gallery
Photos: Kieran Frost
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