Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Baxter Dury: Manchester Arena

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Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Noel Gallagher took the stage of the Manchester Arena for a homecoming gig, Getintothis’ Amos Wynn was there to catch the former Oasis man.

The last time Noel Gallagher played at the Manchester Arena, was to reopen it after the dreadful terrorist attack there. The We Are Manchester gig was an incredible event, but his latest appearance here was just as special.

After releasing his third solo album, Who Built the Moon, last year; the Manchester musician has been touring the world giving fans a taste of his new, more experimental, material.  The David Holmes produced tracks did not sound like automatic greats. It may not be as good as his two previous solo-outings, but seeing those songs live offers a chance to re-evaluate them.

Gallagher opened his set with two tracks from this album, Fort Knox and Holy Mountain. Both tracks have proved to be popular with Sky Sports producers, earning constant air time on Super Sunday.  But I didn’t know how I felt about them; I still don’t.

To be fair, Fort Knox acted as a great opener to set the tone, whilst the catchy Holy Mountain certainly got some in the crowd moving. It’s a Beautiful World was always a stand out track on first listen of the album. Once you get over a woman playing scissors and speaking French on it, it’s a great track and created an angelic atmosphere.

Still, while his new stuff may still take a little getting used to, they certainly highlight why he’s one of the best songwriters this country has produced, but perhaps my inner ‘parka-monkey’ is still wanting him to produce songs like Supersonic.  Perhaps the new material hasn’t yet completely settled, but things certainly moved up a gear with In The Heat of The Moment. 

It is the younger Gallagher who is renowned for being the better singer, but Noel has certainly stepped up to the role of lead singer with some style.  He simply knows how to put on a great show, songs like If I Had A Gun were beautifully delivered, with the sold-out Manchester Arena singing back with joy.

Noel Gallagher - A musician well-known for being rude about other musicians. Witty but don't try it at home.

Noel Gallagher

Gallagher also enjoys taking the opportunity to wind up the crowd.  ‘At this point I always ask, ‘how is your shitty football team doing” with a smugness on his face over Man City’s recent league victory.  He then asked, ‘any Oasis fans in tonight,’ being greeted by a huge roar.

The Manchester crowd were treated to Little By Little and The Importance of Being Idle, and the roof lifted off the Arena. It felt for the first time that night; everyone was in full voice.  Out of all the tracks on Who Built the Moon, next track Dead In The Water is one the stands out. Whilst the rest of the album is experimental, the simplicity of this acoustic track makes it special.

With only an acoustic guitar to hand, this song sounded excellent live, with Noel demonstrating why he’s such a good showman.

More Oasis classics would soon follow, starting with Half the World Away, creating a phenomenal atmosphere across the Arena.  The crowd would continue to be in full voice for Wonderwall, with Gallagher dedicating it to the Man City captain.

When singing the classics, the atmosphere instantly picked up. He finished on What a Life, another solo track that has become a worthy addition to his catalogue of songs. The crowd certainly agreed.

Returning to the stage for the encore, Gallagher went straight into The Right Stuff.  He then played yet another Oasis song, Go Let It Out.  The way he has reworked this song, originally sung by his brother, shows his progression since the original release. To be honest, I prefer this version over the original.

Manic Street Preachers and The Coral: Manchester Arena

Of course, the night wouldn’t be complete without one song. Last year it become an anthem for the region, defiant against the terror attack. This song means more than God Save The Queen, it brings together passion and pride where the actual national anthem fails.  The way Gallagher delivered Don’t look Back in Anger was truly exceptional as always. This song means a lot to the people of Manchester and that could be sensed through this song. Despite the terror attack not being mentioned last night, there was certainly a sense of remembrance in the Arena.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Gallagher then went through his band, remarking how many ‘f**king’ scousers‘ are now in his line-up. He then ended the night with All You Need Is Love, as balloons were dropped onto the crowd.

The ex-Oasis man certainly conquered on Friday night. He sounded excellent from start to finish and provided great entertainment.

It’s always special when the Gallagher‘s return to Manchester. There’s no doubt Liam musters up a great atmosphere, but Noel creates a spectacle and always puts on a great show.

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