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Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Stuart Clark, 27 Feb 2012
Liam who? It’s testament to just how mega tonight’s gig is that nobody, not even the very drunk bloke next to me in the Definitely Maybe t-shirt, shouts for any Oasis songs or bemoans the 50% drop in the Gallagher quotient.
Having told Hot Press last year that, “I wrote all the great, memorable Oasis songs. They’re my fucking creations, so why shouldn’t I play a few if I want?” it’s not a huge surprise when Noel kicks things off with the double Britpop whammy of ‘(It’s Good) To Be Free’ and ‘Mucky Fingers’.
What is a surprise is the positioning at the back of the stage of the 31-strong Crouch End Festival Chorus choir, who having featured on the debut High Flying Birds album are now being carried around Ireland and the UK in a giant flight-case.
Having waited patiently in the wings, the choir is deployed for the first time on “praise the Lord and say hallelujah!” versions of ‘Everybody’s On The Run’, ‘Dream On’ and ‘If I Had A Gun’, which elicit several minutes of olé olé olé-ing from the by-now-delirious crowd.
“That’s pretty bloody good,” Noel beams. “Better crack on though... got a flight to catch tomorrow!”
After debuting the almost metal-ish ‘Freaky Teeth’ – one presumes the opening “On the darkness at the edge of town/And they came to steal the lightning from the sky” couplet is an intentional nod to Broooce – it’s time for a stripped-down acoustic take on ‘Supersonic’ which is the cue for Definitely Maybe t-shirt bloke to give a startled stranger a slobbery kiss.
The only booing of the night comes afterwards when Noel asks us to “give it up for Mario Balotelli, the world’s greatest living human being.” A daft thing to say when we all know that honour belongs to Denis Stracqualursi.
The Crouch End boys and girls re-emerge for ‘Soldier Boys And Jesus Freaks’, a song that rather passed me by on record but sounds awesomely epic tonight.
There’s more Oasis-y goodness to be had during an encore that comprises ‘Whatever’, ‘Little By Little’, ‘The Importance Of Being Idle’ and ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’, and which has Definitely Maybe t-shirt bloke shedding big salty tears of nostalgia.