Noel Gallagher review – a piece of Glastonbury for the ages | Noel Gallagher


Four songs in an underpowered pyramid set, Noel Gallagher is clean. “I’m going to play a few more songs that you don’t care about. They are for me. But if you stick around, after that there will be a lot of very happy people with bucket hats.

The relief is audible. Earlier, some particularly hopeful festival-goers were heard speculating whether the set was in fact a smokescreen for the white whale of Glastonbury, a Pyramid Stage Oasis reunion. That was never a concern, of course – indeed, the positioning of this set felt like Noel was sticking two fingers up to his brother, after Liam’s massive shows earlier this summer. “You’re going to be on the front page of Knebworth, aren’t you?” Well, how about I play the Pyramid scene directly before our mutual musical hero Paul McCartney instead? Down that.”

So with hopes of an Oasis reunion dashed, the fear was that Noel, ever the most stubborn Gallagher, would add insult to injury by glaring through a set of half-known High Flying Birds tunes, and everyone should be entertained before the real crowd-pleaser arrived later in the evening. These early signs were not promising; the only highlight among a succession of austere mid-tempo tracks was Noel’s beloved backing vocalist, Charlotte Marionneau, playing scissors.

But Noel also has a pretty good understanding of how the pyramid works. “The main stage is not your audience, it’s a Glastonbury audience,” he said in an interview before this set. And a Glastonbury crowd at 7.30pm on a Saturday wants a huge pre-Macca chant. So Noel obliges in the second half of his set with what is essentially an Oasis starter kit. Supported by his High Flying Birds regulars, Gem Archer, Mike Rowe and Chris Sharrock, as well as a few soulful backing vocalists and a handful of horns, he threw himself into his top-tier material.

Little By Little is the first, immediately causing people to pile onto the shoulders of an acquaintance. A puff of pyro smoke in various primary colors rises above the crowd and stays there for the rest of the set. Next is The Importance of Being Inactive, which triggers a mass jig from Rhys Ifans. Then Anyway, given a nice brassy arrangement, then Wonderwall – to which Noel barely needs to sing a word, such is the din that emanates before him. When he takes the lead from the audience for the final chorus of this song, he points out how his voice has held up over the years, certainly compared to other members of the Gallagher family.

Half the World Away and Stop Crying Your Heart Out – the latter dedicated to the Liverpool fans he had already goaded with a huge Manchester City flag on his stack of speakers – come in quick succession and Noel is even able to perhaps delivering on its only real next-level High Flying Birds title, AKA… What a Life!, without much of an uproar with audiences. But everyone on stage and off knows why he’s there and there’s time for one last single, Don’t Look Back in Anger.

“Enjoy the big man when he arrives…he has some airs,” Noel said funny before leaving. Macca is not alone.


theguardian Gt

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