It is inherently difficult to separate an artist from his legacy, especially when that legacy in many ways defined a generation. Noel Gallagher? Isn’t he that lad from Oasis? Yes, but he is also a solo artist in the early days of his career with two pretty great albums to his name. His setlist in Dublin’s 3Arena, comprising mostly material from his two solo albums, demonstrates Noel’s indifference towards the idea of being solely a mouthpiece for a bygone age.
With his new record only just hitting the shelves, he opens safely with two familiar tracks from his debut solo album. The inviting rhythm of opener Stranded On The Wrong Beach braces the crowd for an epic rendition of Everybody’s On The Run which sees Noel come into his own. The sheer gravity and power of his vocal performance is almost a shock to the system. Not that his vocal ability was a secret, but the delivery was that of a strong frontman, a position which Noel has often cited difficulty with. It seems as though the growing pains have since subsided.
A handful of old Oasis tracks are always to be expected and now the audience is offered its first, Fade Away. An upbeat track, the band takes no shame in the unapologetic nostalgia trip they take the audience on with a backdrop of sentimental clips of youth. Still it’s fun, familiar and gets the blood flowing.
Having until now erred on the side of caution, Noel now tests the water with some new tracks. You Know We Can’t Go Back and The Dying of The Light will likely make their way into future setlists, such was their quality. Though missing its playful na na na’s the rendition of In The Heat of The Moment proves the songs worth in a live capacity. Elsewhere songs that might have been seen as a sure thing live fell short. Lock All The Doors, for all its energetic qualities, failed to fulfil its potential and came across a bit flat. It is early days for the tour and these musical creases will certainly be ironed out over time.
In the middle of the set, Noel pays tribute to his past and simultaneously bypasses the ‘mouthpiece for a bygone age’ accusation by more or less sharing vocal duties with the crowd and even letting the crowd deliver most of the second half of the Oasis classic Champagne Supernova. Loopholes, eh? To be fair though, who among the audience could realistically question his artistic integrity? More importantly, who would deny a crowd the opportunity to share in these great anthemic moments? Nobody.
He ends the main show with two songs that will likely be his classics in ten years time, namely If I Had A Gun and AKA…What A Life!, both delivered flawlessly and greeted enthusiastically by the audience.
The encore mixes old and new, solo stuff and Oasis. One word into Don’t Look Back In Anger and the crowd sang as if it was last call in the pub after a long session. With two songs left, did Noel plateau too early? How does one conclude a set if not there, during that iconic singsong? Then it happened. The Masterplan. It somehow trumped the previous sing song and served as a perfect finale.
With a thriving solo career full of potential and a never ending source of classic material to call upon, Noel is in a good place. Fortunately his solo work takes priority and is building a very strong fan base out of it. One by one. Little by little.