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Thursday, April 28, 2016
Review: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds @ Leeds First Direct Arena
Photo: Gary Mather / Live4ever Media
It’s a distraction. The thought which occurs, as 13,000 pairs of arms rise to greet ‘Champagne Supernova’, that this is the first time the city of Leeds has been serenaded with this particular modern British rock classic.
You see long before the First Direct Arena (destination #4 on Noel Gallagher ‘s latest UK tour last night), and putting festivals to one side, Oasis quickly outgrew what Leeds had to offer. A quick Google suggests after a gig at the Irish Centre just weeks before the release of ‘Definitely Maybe‘ in August 1994, as far as Yorkshire was concerned anyway the story of the band of a generation went on to be largely played out a few miles south in Sheffield, leaving this city behind as only a small footnote, a half-remembered gig played to barely three people and a barman long before they all sodded off down the road, around the world, and got rich and famous.
It seems right to start with ‘Champagne Supernova‘ regardless, as it’s the highlight of the evening. Not just because the near-twenty years of rock credentials make it the safest of live bets, but also because, perhaps for the first time, a well trodden Oasis classic here feels refreshed and nurtured in the hands of the High Flying Birds. This alternate, gentler Dr. Jekyll to the electric, solo-laden Hyde of years gone by only serves to emphasise the loves, the heartbreaks, the births, the deaths and the who knows how many other life changing moments it has soundtracked for those thousands here who are each recalling their own individual memories with each strum of Gallagher’s acoustic guitar.
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