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#206 Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds @ Dublin O2 Arena (February 17th 2012)

Support: Cashier No. 9

Noel Gallagher - Dublin O2 Arena February 17th 2012

It is fair to say that if you mentioned to the young Noel Gallagher in 1991 that in twenty years he would be going on tour, on his own, playing arenas, backed by two choirs and a brass section, he definitely would have coughed and spluttered into his pint of ‘Dutch Gold’. Actually he probably would have punched you, as I can’t imagine that to the twenty four year old Noel that would have sounded like a cool thing to do.

Never mind that the members of the choir looked like a mixture of extras from ‘Dad’s Army’ and ‘Keeping Up Appearances’, and that the brass section were three blokes from down the local…none of whom were called Stuart (you had to be there). However in 2012 Noel stands head and shoulders above not only most of his contemporaries but also his brother. Yes the younger sibling may have the rock star look, feel and emotion and let’s face it the voice is one of the best of its kind, but in Beady Eye he has a band that seems too quickly put together, as if it was done just to show everyone...meaning Noel...that he didn’t need his brother. Well their debut album is good and live yes there is an excitement there, but he just can’t touch Noel for song writing talent, humour and sheer entertainment.

Half the songs tonight are Oasis songs but they are specifically the ones that were geared for Noel to sing. It’s Good To B Free, Half The World Away and Whatever are all from the latter’s single release in 1994. Not a bad three songs to not include on any studio album. Other Oasis songs played during the main set tonight include a great if somewhat different take on very first single, Supersonic, as well as Talk Tonight and Mucky Fingers (the latter the one low point for me. Not my favourite Oasis track to say the least). By no means though is the show a rehash of the glory days; nearly every track is played from his debut solo album and rightly so. The album stands up alongside anything else he has done with the added bonus that Noel takes centre stage.

Many of the new songs are instant Noel classics. Singles Everybody’s On The Run, Dream On, If I Had A Gun and AKA…What A life stand out but every song is a winner. My personal favourite is a stunning version of (I Wanna Live In My) Record Machine taken to new heights with the choir coming to the fore. There is even a brand new song (and yet to be released) Freaky Teeth which sounds like another classic in the making.

Encoring tonight with an all Oasis line up of songs could be seen as copping out slightly but after playing 9/10ths of his one solo album already it was fair enough. And why shouldn’t he play these songs; songs that he not only wrote but most of which he originally sung as well? Whatever,Little By Little, The Importance Of Being Idle and Don’t Look Back In Anger are always rousing but the Dublin crowd are all on their feet and sing them back to Noel in full voice and even the great man himself looks delighted…maybe even a little moved.

My one gripe at Oasis shows can be the crowd. At Slane in 2009 the gig was spoilt for me by flying twenty-somethings, drunk and high with seemingly no interest on the stage. There was some of the same tonight unfortunately even though we stood towards the back. We were still close as we were in the middle and the venue isn’t huge but it appears that that area gave easy access to the bar and as another teenager lit another cigarette in front me…well it did get a little too much at one point. In truth though they were enjoying themselves; yes not the way I do at concerts, but still enjoying themselves. I like to see the stage and listen to the music, mosh a little, raise the hands and clap and maybe, just maybe do a little boogie (parental warnings needed for that though). I don’t get pissed and wander around not even paying attention to what’s going on up at the front. Each to their own of course.

Tonight was a feel good gig. Having seen Oasis eight times (yes I counted) including classic concerts at Maine Road and Knebworth in ’96 not to mention three consecutive nights at London’s Earls Court in ‘97, I was well aware that Noel can be great on stage; however having also seen the band go through the motions at the Witnness festival in 2002 and to a lesser extent Slane Castle in 2009 I was also aware that sometimes not all was rosey on stage with the brothers. Thankfully tonight was a celebration of the music and the man and as the crowd sang every line of every song of the encore, it was pretty certain that the man on stage is the main Gallagher.

Long may he continue.

Ticket: February 17th 2012

Ticket Price: €39.05

Set Lists: