As much as I’d like to, your friendly neighborhood Maynard can’t get out to too many rock & roll shows on a school night. The wake up bells come a little early for that.
Fortunately, like all great super heroes, I don’t work alone. So I had my buddy Shawn C. Kelley review the show for me. Check out his review. Mad THANKS to Shawn!
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
March 28, 2012 at The Warner Theatre in Washington D.C.
Anyone who has seen the Oasis episode of MTV Unplugged has a good idea of what Noel Gallagher brings to the table as a frontman. Back then, Noel stepped up into the spotlight because his brother Liam, Oasis’ lead singer, was “ill”. People got to hear the older Gallagher brother sing the songs he had written for the band, and in my opinion , the songs were better for it.
It’s no secret that I’ve always preferred Noel’s voice (and attitude) to Liam’s. I saw Oasis many times over the years, and every time I hoped maybe Liam would have “quit” the tour, and Noel would have to take the lead. I never had any luck on that front, but the highlight of each show would be the few songs that Liam would leave the stage and Noel would take over. Sometimes he would play a few songs solo acoustic, sometimes with the full band, but Noel never disappointed. In the post-Oasis era, I’ve given Liam a fair shot. The Beady Eye album far exceeded my expectations, but when I saw them live I was reminded how much I don’t enjoy the younger Gallagher brother perform. He just doesn’t connect with the audience, and Beady Eye haven’t been playing any Oasis songs in concert.
This brings us to last nights show. This is the second time I’ve seen Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, and while the setlist was virtually the same as last time (1 song different) I still left completely satisfied. Noel’s demeanor onstage is very amusing. He doesn’t get into “storyteller” mode, but he definitely engages the crowd. He has conversations with audience members between songs, bantering back and forth. He has an ego, no doubt, but it always seems tongue in cheek, which never seems to come across in print. He seems very comfortable in the spotlight, playing song from his new “solo” album, as well as a bunch of Oasis songs. He fully embraces his back catalogue, and why shouldn’t he?
The 20 song setlist was split almost evenly between High Flying Birds material and Oasis songs. Out of 11 High Flying Birds songs, 9 were from the album, 1 was a B-Side, and 1 was an unreleased song (which is rumored to be in contention as the theme to the next Bond movie). He played 9 Oasis songs (5 singles, 1 album track, and 3 B-Sides). The Oasis songs, not too surprisingly, went over a little better with the crowd, but everyone was singing along to the whole show, start to finish. The song most notably absent was “Wonderwall”, which a large portion of the crowd vocally wanted to hear, but which Noel politely said they wouldn’t be hearing. He wisely closed the night with the anthemic “Don’t Look Back In Anger”, which he let the audience sing the chorus to by themselves, taking a little “rock and roll star”-like step back from the microphone.
After all these years, Noel hasn’t let me down yet.
If you weren’t there, you missed a great show.
Shawn C. Kelley