Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

support Paul Newsome
author BV date 17/03/15 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

At this point in time you would certainly have had to live under a rock for the past twenty years or so, if you have no clue whatsoever as to who Noel Gallagher is or for that matter what the man has been a part of. Having arguably written some of the most recognizable songs of the 90’s whilst carrying steadily on throughout the 2000’s, Noel Gallagher has built a reputation on simple, yet catchy melodies and stadium-sized anthems with his former band Oasis, whilst having distanced himself from that particular band with a solo project which has seen some success on its own as well. Having never seen Oasis perform live, I figured this is probably the closest I would ever come as I entered a sold out Store Vega.

All photos courtesy of Stefan thor Straten

Paul Newsome

As per usual there was a support to get acquainted with first, and as Paul Newsome and his two backing musicians entered the stage it would at first seem grandiose, as Newsome’s logo was projected on to the backdrop whilst the musicians gathered their instruments in preparation for their performance. From the first chord struck, it was entirely evident that Paul Newsome stems from an old-school singer-songwriter tradition – relying a whole lot on the power of his voice and the simple carrying capabilities of a well-written acoustic guitar part. Sadly, as the set progressed it also became evident that Newsome would suffer under the same curse that many singer-songwriters sadly do, as the crowd mostly turned on him and were quite a bit more engulfed in going to the bar or discussing their plans for the coming weekend (on a Tuesday of all days). It’s not that Newsome’s set was uninteresting really, but it did seem all too familiar in the sense that Newsome simply relied too much on the tried and true ways of being a singer-songwriter with very little crowd interaction to supplement it. Having brought in both a percussionist and a lead guitarist did little to help him either, as they merely complemented him subtly – never really adding anything particularly interesting or exciting to the mix. Paul Newsome’s road to Store Vega was arguably paved with good intentions but on this particular night the crowd had little to no interest in what intentions he had to offer them. I’d imagine he would be far better suited for the intimate surroundings of a smaller venue, where I’d probably even be willing to see him again.

5

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Judging by the massive amount of gear on stage, I would have expected the usual changeover to be quite a lengthy stretch of time on this fine evening, yet surprisingly not long passed by before Mr. Gallagher and his High Flying Birds entered the stage and launched into “Do the Damage” from his newest album “Chasing Yesterday”. Although not one of the greatest tracks the man has ever written, it did ring a bell in most parts of the audience – inciting early and surprising singalongs from several parts of the crowd. Few tracks into Gallagher’s set, it would appear that the man still knows how to construct catchy music that can get most of a crowd going when it comes to singing along, as most people seem to know the words for “Everybody’s on the Run” and, the not entirely well-known “Fade Away” which was set to a video-montage depicting various childhood-themed images in a remarkably corny, yet somehow heartwarming and enjoyable way. No concert experience seems complete without a little crowd interaction and this particular area is where most expect Noel Gallagher to really deliver. Not surprisingly, the set moved on steadily up until the end of “Fade Away” where Gallagher simply had to pose a question to an irritatingly loud, yelling audience member by stating; “Mate, have you been attacked? No? Then could you stop making that fucking noise and get on with it?” following that little remark, Mr. Gallagher proceeded to state; ”We’re gonna play some songs off of my fucking brilliant new album for you. And we’re going ahead with the shittiest track on there” before venturing into the steady groove of “In the Heat of the Moment”.

Although possibly meant tongue-in-cheek, Gallagher is not entirely wrong when calling “In the Heat of the Moment” the ‘shittiest’ track on “Chasing Yesterday”. It’s certainly not the best, at least, yet it still has that up-beat quality to it that would inevitably have the crowd nodding and singing along once more. At this point I found myself getting noticeably frustrated by the sound at the venue, constantly being relatively low and quite unclear – to the extent that I could hardly hear the keyboards, or most of the lead-guitar parts. It was irritating, to say the least, and continued to smudge an otherwise entirely professional delivery by Gallagher and his High Flying Birds. As could easily be predicted, the crowd went absolutely nuts when the first few notes of Oasis’ massive “Champagne Supernova” came around – granted, I’m not a cold-hearted bastard so of course I joined the rest of the crowd in singing along to memorable phrases like ” Someday you will find me / Caught beneath the landslide / In a champagne supernova in the sky”. It was entirely clear that “Champagne Supernova” was a massive highlight in and of itself, but it should nevertheless be noted that newer material like the superb “Riverman” and “The Dying of the Light” completely held their own against the massive legacy that lies within hits like the select few Oasis tracks played throughout the night.

Without much further ado, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds left the stage, returning briefly to play three encores; two of which were, quite as expected, renditions of Oasis classics “Don’t Look Back in Anger” and “The Masterplan”, with the third being the spectacular “AKA… What A Life!” from Gallagher’s solo debut. Much can be said about a night like this one, but one thing seems perfectly clear to me – every single note of this night’s performance was delivered with a heavy degree of professionalism and it would seem that Noel Gallagher has finally settled comfortably into the role of being the leading figure on stage, and not just in the studio. It’s a shame that the sound never improved, but luckily Gallagher performed solidly in spite of this.

Setlist:

  • 1. Do The Damage
  • 2. (Stranded On) The Wrong Beach
  • 3. Everybody's On The Run
  • 4. Fade Away
  • 5. In The Heat Of The Moment
  • 6. Lock All the Doors
  • 7. Riverman
  • 8. The Death Of You And Me
  • 9. You Know We Can't Go Back
  • 10. Champagne Supernova
  • 11. Ballad Of The Mighty I
  • 12. Dream On
  • 13. The Dying Of The Light
  • 14. The Mexican
  • 15. AKA... Broken Arrow
  • 16. Digsy's Dinner
  • 17. If I Had A Gun
  • --Encore—
  • 18. Don't Look Back In Anger
  • 19. AKA... What A Life!
  • 20. The Masterplan

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