On last night’s evidence, it looks like we can now quantify how difficult it is to get along with Liam Gallagher, as his brother Noel preferred to play with thirty other people at once – the 23 person strong Crouch End Choir, a three man horn section and four piece band – rather than play with a single Liam Gallagher.
That none of his new colleagues flipped him the bird or stormed off stage in a tantrum probably confirms he’s made the right choice.
What’s more, the choir and horns greatly added to the anthemic qualities of solo songs like “Everybody’s On The Run” and Oasis classics including a memorable “Champagne Supernova”.
Gallagher played a strong set mostly comprising of his solo material interspersed with old Oasis favourites (“Fade Away”, “Digsys Dinner”, Don’t Look Back In Anger” and final encore “The Masterplan”).
Ah, those solo albums. Whilst all but the most über-cool hipster can agree that the first two Oasis albums were pretty great, there are plenty of people who have struggled to praise what came after. Much of the criticism targets what Noel Gallagher’s music isn’t rather than what it is.
- It isn’t as interesting as Noel Gallagher’s interviews
- It isn’t stretching musical boundaries
- It isn’t exactly Radiohead
To which latter point Gallagher memorably retorted, “Radiohead? They’ve been making the same record since Kid A”.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ debut album is a popular album on the ERTAS turntable, and not just because the vinyl copies now fetch fifty quid apiece in the second hand market. It’s because that LP might just be the third best album that Gallagher has been involved with, and the new album, “Chasing Yesterday”, might just be the fourth.
Gallagher, at 47 years of age, is making exactly the sort of music that 47 year old rock stars should, but seldom ever make. How many 47 year old rock stars are still producing decent albums twenty years after their first? Not that many… Sure, it’s not quite as rock n roll as Oasis, but as Gallagher said in a recent Rolling Stone interview, “If you still behave at 47 the way you were behaving at 24, you’d be a bit of a dick wouldn’t you?”
Not that Gallagher has thrown out all his old tricks. New song “Lock All The Doors” is a throwback to “(What’s The Story) Morning Glory” but none the worse for it, but “Riverman” with its mellow horns and Floyd-esque guitar could never have sat on an Oasis album. When Gallagher, in the same Rolling Stone interview, was asked what would have happened had he suggested a sax solo on, say, “Live Forever” he noted “That conversation wouldn’t have lasted very long…”
Another unexpected highlight of the set was “The Mexican” – a “Chasing Yesterday” song which sounded much better than on the album, enhanced with those heavy horns beefing up the guitar.
And in between the songs, we had Noel bantering with the audience, telling them he’d like to “play some songs off my f–ing brilliant new album”, encouraging people to come down to the front rows because “These bald geezers sitting down at the front are doing my head in…”, and trading insults:
“Do I love you?” he replied to one heckler, “What do you think? Did you buy my album? A ticket? A t-shirt? Then I love you. And my wife loves you too.”
“Can I sign your ticket?” to another, “Sorry mate, I’m a bit busy up here…but if you want to wait around outside until 6am, I’ll sign it then…”
He then dedicated a song to his wife, Sara MacDonald, “…who is rat-arsed up there in a box somewhere…” he explained looking around at The Royal Albert Hall’s grand setting.
The set closed with a one-two of “AKA…What A Life” and “The Masterplan” – one written twenty years after the other, but both still sounding somehow fresh and timeless, and nearly as good as Noel’s interviews…
- Do the Damage
- (Stranded On) The Wrong Beach
- Everybody’s on the Run
- Fade Away
- In the Heat of the Moment
- Lock All the Doors
- The Death of You and Me
- You Know We Can’t Go Back
- Champagne Supernova
- Ballad of the Mighty I
- Dream On
- The Dying of the Light
- The Mexican
- AKA… Broken Arrow
- Digsy’s Dinner
- If I Had a Gun…
- Don’t Look Back in Anger
- AKA… What a Life!
- The Masterplan
Categories: Live Reviews