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Review: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at Manchester Arena

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds return to Manchester for a sold-out show at the Arena. Gallagher is touring his latest album, his third post-Oasis release; ‘Who Built The Moon?,’ which is the most eclectic album he has released to date, and we were very interested to hear it live.

Gallagher has assembled a talented band to back him for the album and the tour. The band includes Mike Rowe (keyboards), Jessica Greenfield (backing vocals and additional keyboards), Charlotte Marionneau (backing vocals), Yseé (backing vocals), Russell Pritchard (bass and backing vocals), a three-piece horn section (saxophone, trumpet, and trombone), and two of Gallagher’s former Oasis bandmates, Gem Archer (lead and rhythm guitar) and Chris Sharrock (drums).

He starts the show reeling off the first four tracks from the new album, in order; ‘Fort Knox’ then into ‘Holy Mountain’ ‘Keep On Reaching’ and ‘It’s a Beautiful World’. Any doubts about how his fans would take to the experimental sound to the new album, were quickly pushed aside – the tracks getting the crowd going and setting the foundation for the rest of the show. It’s a visual masterpiece, each track has a completely different colour and theme, and Gallagher has certainly invested in an impressive light show for the arena tour.

“Are there any Oasis fans out there? I think so judging by the haircuts and bomber jackets “

The fans don’t have to wait too long until the band dip into the Oasis back catalogue. They start with ‘Little By Little’ and then straight into ‘The Importance of Being Idle’. Although the crowd have been singing his new album and seem to know every track, the reception to the Oasis tracks is incompatible. The volume doubles, the atmosphere rises and everyone in the arena is singing their heart out.

@snappershaz

Its back into the new album and the next chapter with ‘If The Love Is The Law’ giving the crowd a bit of respite and a chance to process the back-to-back Oasis. What follows is personal favourite and bonus track ‘Dead In The Water’ from the new album. This track was never meant to be released and was originally recorded without Noel knowing, so it’s a nice one to hear live, making you wonder what other classics he’s sitting on. Its back to basics with Noel carving a lonely figure on the stage with his guitar as he gives a rendition that demands the crowd’s attention. A couple more tracks off the new album and night is drawing towards its finale.

One of the biggest cheers of the night by the audience is for the performance of the Oasis song “Wonderwall,” and the crowd sing along in a full-throated roar.

Gallagher then takes the opportunity to introduce and thank each band member as he jokes around that they are all from Liverpool. “…and here is a song by The Beatles who are from….”

The evening comes to a close with a fantastic cover of “The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love.” hundreds of spacehopper-esque coloured balls are released from the arena’s ceiling and it suddenly feels like a huge celebration.

@snappershaz

“Have a great weekend, we will see you somewhere around the world, you were amazing as always. Goodnight!” Gallagher salutes and leaves the crowd playing with the giant balls.

The band’s one-hour and 45-minute performance featured an 18-song main set and a four-song Encore with material off all three albums with some select Oasis tracks and covers. It was a highly entertaining show with psychedelic optics and deafening acoustics, very impressive.

  1. Fort Knox
  2. Holy Mountain
  3. Keep on Reaching
  4. It’s a Beautiful World
  5. In the Heat of the Moment
  6. Riverman
  7. Ballad of the Mighty I
  8. If I Had a Gun
  9. Dream On
  10. Little By Little
  11. The Importance of Being Idle
  12. If Love Is The Law
  13. Dead in the Water
  14. Be Careful What You Wish For
  15. She Taught Me How to Fly
  16. Half the World Away
  17. Wonderwall
  18. AKA…What a Life

— ENCORE —

  1. The Right Stuff
  2. Go Let It Out
  3. Don’t Look Back in Anger
  4. All You Need Is Love (The Beatles Cover)

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