Gig review: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at First Direct Arena, Leeds

Noel Gallagher. Picture: Matt CrockettNoel Gallagher. Picture: Matt Crockett
Noel Gallagher. Picture: Matt Crockett
The erstwhile Oasis man gives a songwriting masterclass to a packed arena audience.

For almost 30 years, Noel Gallagher has been writing his pages in the Great British Songbook. His songs and vocals as recognisable as those of Freddie Mercury, Roger Daltrey and Bob Dylan.

As the words to tracks from recent album Council Skies are still drying on the page, they have yet to find their place in the overall discography and the crowd take some time to build up the same call and response to them as the more embedded hits.

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The first time the audience gets supersonic is a rousing rendition of We’re Gonna Get There In The End. First released as a demo single, now given a full band reworking on Council Skies, the track has certainly found its way into the larger canon of work and is destined to stay as a long-term live fan favourite.

Heading back the way he came, Gallagher draws from his three previous HFB albums with If I Had A Gun, In The Heat Of The Moment and a superb rendition of Dead In The Water, once again a leftover live radio session demo. Lesser acts would give their entire back catalogue for tracks Gallagher has released as mere studio off-cuts.

It is with the aforementioned that Gallagher’s songwriting has become a national treasure. Pulling from The Masterplan, an album of cuts considered as B-sides, The Masterplan and Half The World Away are huge crowd-pleasing numbers to this day.

Oasis fans that stood on towards the back end of their career with the morbidly underrated Don’t Believe The Truth, were treat to a blistering The Importance Of Being Idle, whilst old-school 90s Britpoppers weren’t forgotten, with Little By Little and Live Forever.

An artist that has spanned generations, Noel Gallagher is one of our nation’s greatest. On a cold winter’s Yorkshire evening, he certainly turned up the sun for everyone.