Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – SSE Hydro, Glasgow – 07/03/15

noel-gallagher-high-flying-birds-live-glasgow-sse-hydroSold out almost immediately, Noel’s Saturday night at the SSE Hydro was always going to be a great night. With the new album at number 1 on the album chart (and the fastest selling of the year so far) things were looking promising before a guitar was strummed.

At 9pm the lights dipped and out came the man himself, along with his band mates, a brass section and the full Crouch End Choir. He was bringing the full show to the rabid Glasgow masses for sure and kicked off into ‘The Damage’ to a rapturous reception. Any fears he may have had about people not knowing the words must have vanished within the first 45 seconds with the crowd singing along with him and, in typical Glasgow crowd fashion, every instrument too.

Modest he isn’t, and as the crowd chanted his name he stood with one finger in the air under a solitary spotlight and enjoyed the seemingly never-ending adoration on offer from the crowd tonight. And no wonder; he was in blistering form straight out the traps.

Powering through ‘(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach’ and ‘Everybody’s On the Run’ the crowd were ready for their first Oasis track of the night, ‘Fade Away’. I’m more of a fan of the full band version but Noel with his acoustic is always a sight to behold. As you’d expect the crowd sang along word for word and savoured every second of it.

The Oasis tracks Noel opted for were all great choices; his re-worked version of ‘Champagne Supernova’ with the choir still gives me goosebumps two days later, ‘Digsy’s Dinner’ (which he dedicated to Kevin Bridges to celebrate his almost one year sobriety) had everyone bouncing about like 1994 again and even though he wouldn’t have been allowed to leave the building without playing ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ and ‘The Masterplan’ they still felt special; its most likely the extra dimension that a Glasgow crowd bring to the party, that extra passion always pushes the levels up that little bit more.

I was genuinely amazed with how incredible the new material sounds given he was only a few shows into it. Yes, I know, he spent plenty of time writing and recording it but being able to do what he did live with a brass section and choir to organise too was a work of art. The only barely noticeable slip up was during ‘The Mexican’ which was acknowledged with a chuckle and a “Did I fuck that up?”.

That aside, the old Oasis tracks, the new Chasing Yesterday tracks all worked in brilliantly into the original NGHFB material. Anyone disappointed with the lack of Oasis songs (I’m looking at you girl standing next to me shouting “please be Oasis” after every. Single. Song.) needs to remember that day has well and truly passed and he now has two brilliant solo albums to play to us.

I’d have happily watched and listened to a performance of the new album in its entirety, so the fact we also got tracks like ‘In The Heat Of The Moment’, ‘The Death of You and Me’, ‘Dream On’, ‘If I Had a Gun’ and a whole lot more was an absolute delight.

I expected Noel to be amazing and he really was. His back and forward with the crowd (thanking them from Liam for buying Pretty Green parka’s), the unity of the 30-odd people on the stage, his delivery all made it a very special night.

With Noel commenting “Thank god it’s Manchester after this because it’s the only place that can compete with this”; Good Luck Manchester.

Photos © James McHugh 2015

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