gig review ~ noel gallagher's high flying birds ~ odyssey arena, belfast

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
Belfast, Odyssey Arena.

The choir have returned, alongside the McCartney piano & those singalong chorus'. Yes, Noel Gallagher is back on tour and as is tradition, he begins his jaunt around the UK and Ireland with Belfast.

Gallagher has a warm relationship with the city, dating back to Definitely Maybe's ascension to number one during an Oasis gig back in 1994. All it takes is a simple "What about you Belfast?" to send the crowd into raptures and even a rocky attempt at the Northern Irish accent fails to disrupt this parties flow. Tricky tour opener navigated, Gallagher flies into a barrage of debut album highlights, "Stranded On The Wrong Beach" and  "Everybody's on the Run" respectively. It hits the mark. Belfast are in this for the long haul & when b-side gem "Fade Away" is dropped without warming, it seems a fair exchange for this crowds adoration.

Younger brother Liam's Johnny Rotten snarl may now be replaced by gentle acoustics, but that Gallagher edge remains ever present; indeed, three tracks in and he's already called a member of the crowd "a fucking square". Not yet content, it appears time for the first trump card of the night. A Beatles-esque guitar melody is met with "this ones for the mum and dad's...", but it's not. It's for every single person in the venue, and as the familiar chants of 'Champagne Supernova' begin there's quite literally not a single person left seated. Bucket hats now thrusted skyward, The Odyssey Arena will not be the only venue of this tour out-singing the band. The magic remains, even through this watered-down arrangement.

With an array of 'arms around total strangers' styled anthems at his disposal, Noel could be forgiven for playing it safe, but tonight Belfast see's the cobwebs blown off 'Shout It Out Loud', a Heathen Chemistry B-Side of Lennon proportions. We're then given an insight into Chasing Yesterday's darker regions, as  'The Mexican' and it's Rolling Stone's bass line is given the chance to stretch it's legs ('Is there any Mexican's here tonight?').

Whilst the highlight of the night undoubtedly belongs to sensational closer 'The Masterplan',  new album track 'You Know We Can't Go Back' stands head and shoulders above it's High Flying Birds counterparts. Yes it's vintage Noel, but elements of both Morrissey and Doherty have found their way onto a song sounding positively massive. Quite possibly his best in years.

Tonight was all about Noel Gallagher, the solo performer. As much as he may enjoy returning to those halcyon days of lasagna ('Digsy's Dinner') and girls called Sally (Cinnamon or otherwise), don't expect these High Flying Birds to be coming down anytime soon.

Taylor Johnson

Chasing Yesterday? Not in this performance...

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