Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Venue: Hammersmith Apollo, London
Date: 27th October 2011

When announcing his first solo tour Noel decided to take to the road and play theatre style venues across the UK. The type of venues that were far too small for Oasis to play in. Noel stated himself that he was unsure what the demand would be like for him so chose to test the water with these intimate venues. After the enormous demand from fans and the unscrupulous touts selling tickets for around three times their face value, there is clearly no doubt that Noel Gallagher could have sold out a stadium tour if he so wished. However, to see Noel in this intimate old theatre was a very special occasion for the fans.

Noel had made it clear that he would be playing Oasis songs on this tour as they are the songs he wrote (all by himself) and songs that he is proud of. And true to his word, tonight we were treated to a mix of High Flying Birds songs and Oasis songs in a 90 minute set that flew by in an instant.

The set opened with 'It's Good To Be Free'. A clear hint of irony and humour from Noel straight from the off. A rousing version of 'Mucky Fingers' was next before launching into 'Everybody's On The Run' which was welcomed by the crowd like an old classic. It was easy to forget that the new album has only been with us for a fortnight. This was the theme for many of the new songs played tonight, with the crowd singing along at the top of their voices to 'If I Had A Gun', 'What A Life' 'The Death Of You And Me' and 'I Wanna Live In A Dream'. When Noel played 'Dream On' the song took on a life of its own in the live environment and became more than the throw away song Noel has described it as. A cover of Ryan Adams' cover of ‘Wonderwall’ followed which was absolutely beautiful and was enough to bring grown men to tears. 'Supersonic' was stripped back to just an acoustic guitar but nothing could stop the crowd singing along as loud as they could to the original version which made it feel like 1994 again. Other Oasis songs that were played included ‘Half The World Away’, a full band version of ‘Talk Tonight’ and a three song Oasis encore of ‘Don't Look Back In Anger’, ‘The Importance Of Being Idle’ and choosing to finish with ‘Little by LIttle’ was another stroke of genius by the god like Noel Gallagher.

The way the fans reacted and worshipped Noel tonight with chants of 'Noel Noel Noel' at every opportunity has proved that Noel can simply do no wrong. The songs that Noel has wrote both in Oasis and now High Flying Birds are songs that have become part of the fabric of our society, songs that, in a similar way to The Beatles' songs, will outlive us all. This was a very special night and a gig I will never forget.

Steve Tay

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