Friday, November 18, 2011 at 12:22 a.m.
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
November 17th, 2011
Royce Hall, UCLA
Click here to see the slideshow!
If you have been a long time Oasis fan, you may recall the infamous 1996 MTV unplugged special that aired with Noel Gallagher stepping up to the microphone to sing a batch of Oasis songs when his lead singer brother Liam was unable to perform. It was a revealing moment displaying how Noel could easily front his own band. Back in 2008 when Oasis was at the Staples Center, Noel's subset of songs were the highlight of the evening.
While I lament the fractioning of Oasis into Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds and Beady Eye, It was still exciting to see a full complement of songs sung by Noel. Engaging the crowd with a sense of familiarity, Gallagher kicked off the evening with a pair of Oasis songs "(It's Good)To Be Free and "Mucky Fingers".
The broad sweeping chords of "Everybody's On The Run" filled Royce Hall as Noel seemed to be settling in and hitting his stride. Strapping on an acoustic guitar, "Dream On" was just as catchy as any of the Oasis songs in his arsenal with its sing along chorus, catchy melodies and twinkling piano notes. "The Death of You and Me" had a bluesy whiskey drenched saloon swagger.
Gallagher introduced a new song "Freaky Teeth" as a new song that wouldn't be heard until another eighteen months for his next album. Although a large sign was posted in the lobby that prohibited photos and video, a slew of cell phones and cameras appeared for "Wonderwall" as a lone blue spotlight shone on Gallagher.
Another tidal wave of applause occurred when he delicately strummed the opening notes of "Supersonic" bringing down the tempo ever so slightly to let each musical note and lyric resonate with the audience. "(I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record Machine" was another exemplary song that could easily fit on Be Here Now or (What's the Story) Morning Glory?
One song I never thought I would hear live was "Talk Tonight" which originally appeared on the Oasis compilation album The Masterplan.
Gallagher reengineered the song with the full band making a brilliant song even brighter. Sweeping into the psychedelic, "Soldier Boys and Jesus Freaks" deftly swirled with a hazier gaze than songs from the '60s era.
"Half the World Away" and "(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach" closed out his main set as very few people sat down in their chairs throughout the evening. A three song encore of Oasis songs seemed to be fairly telling as "Little By Little", "The Importance of Being Idle" and "Don't Look Back In Anger" concluded the evening as Noel Gallagher has his band of High Flying Birds soaring quite high.
Personal Bias: On a hard drive somewhere long lost are my attempted cover versions of "Wonderwall" and "Talk Tonight".
Random Notebook Dump: A burly security guard stood on the side of the stage presumably protecting Noel Gallagher as he was wrongfully tackled back in 2008 at the V Fest.
Overheard In The Crowd: Shouted out requests for every Oasis song.
"(It's Good) To Be Free"
"Everybody's On The Run"
"If I Had A Gun..."
"The Good Rebel"
"The Death of You And Me"
"(I Wanna Live In A Dream) In My Record Machine"
"AKA.. What A Life"
"Soldier Boys and Jesus Freaks"
"AKA... Broken Arrow"
"Half The World Away"
"(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach"
"Little By Little"
"The Importance of Being Idle"
"Don't Look Back In Anger"