Music’s human equivalent of the Gruffalo, Noel Gallagher, brings his post-Oasis project, the High Flying Birds, Lee-side for the final night Live At The Marquee.
Rock’s resident grumpy old man begins proceedings in relatively serene fashion, teasing the first lines of If I Had A Gun, which is to be revisited later. However, he is quick to up the menace with (Stranded On) The Wrong Beach, with snarling guitars, his narrowed eyes sweeping the crowd.
The thundering follow-up, Everybody’s On The Run, with its trembling beat, is a tour de force performance – tremors of pure groove reverberate throughout The Marquee. Setting the crowd into motion, it makes for a pretty mesmerising spectacle.
“You were at T in the Park, I remember you,” he says to someone at the front, before acknowledging two girls from Korea, who have followed the tour across the world. Dedication or what?
Vocally, Gallagher has great clarity to his voice. For someone who specialises in raucous, loud rock music, he is pretty much note-perfect throughout the night – especially during new single Lock All The Doors.
The rain-soaked Riverman is a grungier effort from Noel & Co with lashings of brass. Most of the crowd seem to think it an appropriate song to miss for a bathroom break. It’s hard not to see why: at almost six minutes, it verges on being a self-indulgent rendition.
The Death of You and Me and its Spaghetti Western-inspired instrumentation is the perfect repellent for the downpour outside, with its warm saxophone accompaniment and relaxed chords. It’s followed by You Know We Can’t Go Back: a similarly peppery summer anthem. Champagne Supernova cracks the crowd like a poorly manufactured pinata, and Gallagher revels in the reaction. It’s nostalgic, and almost solemn, and yet is performed with that same youthful glee it had way back in the nineties.
When asked why he doesn’t play The Importance of Being Idle, however, Noel is less gleeful with his retort. “Liam’s here, he’s at the mixing desk … No, Liam’s at home looking at himself in the mirror,” he jokes. “Fortunately, he’s still not as big a c**t as you are. Imagine that. Being the bigger c**t.” Ouch. Kitty got claws. Nevertheless, the crowd is jovial and relishes in his signature bad-mouthed approach.
If I Had A Gun is taken slightly more seriously, and sees him really deliver the lyrics. In fact, it’s the most honest and sincere he’s appeared all night.
An encore of AKA … What A Life! sees the crowd temporarily lose their lives. The band have reworked it slightly, with warbling guitars and synth sounds, but nothing too over-the-top. Don’t Look Back In Anger is an all-too-obvious closer, but is met with similar enthusiasm.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds are, undoubtedly, the perfect act to close out The Marquee. The band’s intensely expansive sound impacted on every person attending, from the chancers to the hardcore Korean fans alike. The delivery is solid from beginning to end, and while the show wouldn’t win any awards for theatrics, who would care when the quality is so good?