Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds @ The Palais
He’s renowned for his songwriting and sibling-rivalry; some believe his arrogance outweighs his artistry, yet, for the Fred Perry-clad legion of fans who cram Melbourne’s Palais Theatre, Noel Gallagher receives nothing but adoration.
He takes the stage with four band mates in tow, a rousing jeer from every geezer in the house and it is straight into (It’s Good) To Be Free. Subtle! An electric bombardment follows with Mucky Fingers’ thumping drums and keys lifting the intensity and putting Noel’s vocal to the test immediately. It gives every indication that tonight’s show will span the old and the new; it’s promising.
Everybody’s On The Run, Dream On and If I Had A Gun are the first High Flying Birds’ numbers to be presented. Crisp, clean and well-received. The latter prompting a wide spread singalong, though the most hearty of anthemic responses were still yet to come.
The Good Rebel and The Death Of You And Me add more of the new content to the set. It’s easy listening and performed perfectly, but it’s safe. In fact none of it can be considered adventurous as Gallagher rarely shifts thematically from sunshine, storm clouds or soul and often rhymes like a novice children's author. Structurally the pattern continues: steady drums, a softly-sung intro and a wailing chorus. Just like the Colonel though, Noel has the recipe, and if it sells chicken then I guess why change it?
When his acoustic emerges and Whatever presents, he’s swiftly exonerated. Drumsticks are swapped for hand-sleigh bells and the keys come to life. Released almost twenty years ago, it’s lost none of its ‘be-free’ sentiment. Supersonic immediately follows and it releases the inner-Manchurian in all of us. The entire theatre sings of a girl called Elsa, who’s in to Alka Seltzer and it’s magic.
The mood is positive; Gallagher is engaging, jovial and cheeky. He’s no prat. The sound and lighting have enhanced the quality of proceedings. The band does what’s required. What A Life, Record Machine and Talk Tonight allow for further insight into the direction of High Flying Birds but they’re no match for the uptempo version of Half The World Away that comes as a ‘right Royle’ surprise.
We have little time to come down from the clouds and adjust our iPhone cameras when ‘the’ encore ensues; Little By Little and The Importance Of Being Idle, reminders of the vocal capabilities Noel harnesses. Finally, Noel Gallagher’s wax seal on the rock and roll envelope, Don’t Look Back In Anger. Say no more.
BY JOHN DONALDSON
LOVED: Reminiscing with The Baker.
HATED: Hecklers requesting songs, I can’t imagine a Gallagher ever being told what to do.
DRANK: Zilch. Was looking for a car park instead.