Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Leeds Arena – 07/05/18
It’s a sunny Sunday in Leeds and as evening draws in closer, the beer gardens empty around the city centre as many make their way down to the Arena in high spirit ready for the main event. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds are the evenings entertainment, and a widely diverse audience gather in the arena as the drinks continue to flow.
Having just released a brand new album ‘Who Built The Moon?’, Noel Gallagher is quick to throw the set straight into the new material. The first four tracks consist of his newer music, and boast a more experimental and open mind from the frontman.
Near instrumental ‘Fort Knox’ opens up the set before recent single ‘Holy Mountain’, a track full of groove, and one that the likes of The Vaccines would have been proud to have written, sparks up the first big reaction within the arena. ‘Keep On Reaching’ is loaded with trumpets, a pounding beat and some infectious rhythm, and ‘It’s A Beautiful World’ is a little more reserved to follow up with and pleasing on the ear.
Back to the older High Flying Birds material as the likes of fan favourites ‘In The Heat of the Moment’, ‘If I Had a Gun’ and the fantastic ‘Ballard of the Mighty I’ do more than enough to keep everyone away from the bar for the first time this evening.
As ever, Oasis classics are never far behind. ‘Little By Little’ lead by Noel and his electric guitar has everyone singing at the tops of their voices as the golden oldie creates arguably the highlight of the night.
‘The Importance Of Being Idle’, ‘Half the World Away’ and ‘Wonderwall’ are spread out among some more of the HFB material and all impress as you would expect. All feel a little more stripped back and comfy than originals, but they do sound just as great as Noel gives them his own slight twist in his live set.
Noticeably missing from the set list is the brilliant ‘Everybody’s on the Run’, but with a back catalogue the size of a library, Noel can be forgiven for shaking things up a little bit.
For a man from a band that has always had too much to say for themselves, Noel is quite quiet when it comes to engaging with the crowd between songs. A couple of gloating remarks about his beloved Manchester City’s title win, and some slightly confrontational but friendly banter with members of the crowd for good measure.
The ever predictable encore features HFB’s slow and steady ‘The Right Stuff’ prior to some more Oasis wonders in the form of ‘Go Let it Out’ and ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ both leave us all in awe. A swift cover if The Beatles’ ‘All You Need Is Love’ finishes off the night in just as high spirit as it began.
Noel may not have that unpredictability and excitement that the return of his brother Liam has with his recent solo album ‘As You Were’, but you can’t take anything away from the technicality and creativeness of the genius that is Noel when writing music. His musical talent is clear by a country mile over his brother, but as far as a live show goes, Noel can feel a little stiff in comparison at moments through the night. An overall brilliant evening passes by in what seems like minutes as even at the age of 50 Noel still has everything he needs to keep going strong with the High Flying Bird’s.
Review & Photos: © Danny Peart Photography