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Noel Gallagher launches UK arena tour in Manchester
Noel Gallagher launched his maiden solo arena tour last night (February 13th), with a hometown gig at the MEN Arena, Manchester.
With support provided by Reverend & The Makers, Gallagher stuck primarily to the setlist which has served him well throughout a world-wide tour of theatres since the release of ‘Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds‘ last October, playing a mix of songs which comprise that debut along side various classics from the Oasis back catalogue.
Noel Gallagher’s UK arena tour will move on to the Aberdeen Arena tonight, with a live appearance also due at the Brit Awards later this month.
(It’s Good) To Be Free
Everybody’s On The Run
If I Had A Gun
The Good Rebal
The Death Of You And Me
(I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record Machine
AKA… What A Life!
AKA… Broken Arrow
Half The World Away
Solder Boys And Jesus Freaks
(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach
Little By Little
The Importance Of Being Idle
Don’t Look Back In Anger
Just like his beloved Manchester City, Noel Gallagher seems to be on a roll – and keeping just ahead of a close rival.
It was brother Liam who hit the ground running after Oasis split amid rumours of hurled guitars – and fruit – in 2009.
But while the younger Gallagher’s new project Beady Eye got the early plaudits, it’s Noel who, like so many Oasis songs, is proving the slow-burning hit.
Tonight his band – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – have come home to Manchester. And even Liam - who branded his elder brother’s new project ‘boring’ - might have looked at a packed Arena with more than a little sibling envy.
The gig starts – ironically perhaps – with It’s Good to be Free, the b-side from Whatever.
Gallagher, wearing a leather jacket and jeans and sporting a hint of a tan from his recent stint in Australia, then launches into a furious rendition of Mucky Fingers, from Heathen Chemistry.
Only then do we get the first song from his post-Oasis catalogue – the foot-stomping Everybody’s on the Run – followed immediately by the new single, Dream On.
The first big cheer of the night, though, is for an Oasis classic: a keyboard-heavy acoustic version of Whatever.
It’s a fairly low-key start – particularly given the relative lack of banter from Gallagher.
So a rocket-fuelled Supersonic is exactly what the night needs – and brings the thousands to their feet.
The reaction seems to warm Gallagher up as well as the crowd. He dedicates What a Life, one of his new group’s biggest hits so far, to ‘the greatest living human being on earth’ – controversial Blues’ striker Mario Balotelli.
Half the crowd cheers and half the crowd jeers, which strangely seems to be exactly the kind of reaction Gallagher wanted.
Many of the fans here got a sneak preview of what was in store in October, when Noel and the band played a euphorically-received gig at the Carling Apollo.
But anyone thinking the less intimate setting of the Arena might dilute the impact needn’t have worried.
If there’s one thing we learned from Oasis’ glory days, it’s that Gallagher knows how to fill the biggest stadiums with sound. Half the World Away – the Oasis number made famous as the theme tune to The Royle Family – raises the roof.
By the first encore, Little by Little, Gallagher seems to be visibly shattered. Maybe being both front man and lead guitarist - not to mention the fact he'll be 45 this year - is taking a physical toll.
The anthemic The Importance of Being Idle is well received, before Don’t Look Back in Anger transports an audience full of thirtysomething men back to their youth.
As a musician, and songwriter, Noel has not withered with age, but rather adapted. The Oasis classics have already stood the test of time.
Tonight is a demonstration that the new material – while more measured and plaintive – will almost certainly do the same.
With a wave and a ‘see you later’, he’s gone.A girl behind me wails: ‘But he’s not done Wonderwall!’It’s true. He might have mellowed but Gallagher still seems to like confounding expectations and springing the odd surprise. Just like Mario.