Review: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – SSE Arena, Belfast
One of Britain’s most successful artists took to the SSE Arena stage on Wednesday night and gave us a rock show that was nothing short of phenomenal. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds are no strangers to Belfast but every time they play here they give it their all. Wednesday night’s show will not be forgotten and they proved why they are a staple of rock music.
The night kicked off with Indie musician, Baxter Dury. He entered the stage with a full band behind him and his name in huge writing as a backdrop. His musical style was a mixture between Madness and Sleaford Mods with some incredible guitar riffs thrown in. Everyone on stage had such a huge presence but Baxter’s dance moves stole the show. When the backing singers took to the spotlight he could be seen at the front really getting into the music. This was particularly noticeable during the song “Miami” which was undoubtedly a crowd pleaser.
After a short break the music stopped and about five minutes of intense trumpet like sounds started to play which gradually increased the anticipation in the packed-out venue. When the lights dimmed, Noel and the band walked out and there was an eruption of cheers. Noel walked on with the suave demeanour he naturally exudes before they went into their first track “Fort Knox”. The simplistic, clear blue sky, backdrop alongside the mainly instrumental track created a relaxed setting. They then went directly into the famous, belt your heart out, song “Holy Mountain”.
From the very beginning we saw how diverse this gig was going to be in terms of song choice. The crowds excitement was at an all-time high within the first few minutes of the setlist. It was refreshing to see that the entire focus wasn’t just on Noel, but everyone on stage was a noticeable contributor. The backing vocals of Jessica Greenfield, Charlotte Marionneau (the renowned scissor player) and YSEÉ were extraordinary and you couldn’t help but focus on them throughout the night. They injected an element of fun into the show with fun gimmicks including playing a tin whistle at one point.
Throughout the night, Noel radiated the laid-back attitude that he has become known for. When he wasn’t singing his heart out he had his head down playing his guitar or he was taking a step back and letting another band member take precedence.
The setlist was a brilliant array of tracks from sing- a-long belters such “Dream On” to emotional songs like of “Dead In The Water”. Naturally whilst Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds are a musical success, everyone was dying to hear some classic Oasis tracks. Noel did not disappoint. He introduced the first Oasis track by stating ‘From the bomber jackets there’s some Oasis fans still here. Well you’ve come to the right place’ before starting into the classic “Little by Little”. They also played “The Importance of Being Idle”, “Half the World Away” and everyone’s favourite“Wonderwall”. Every single one was met with massive cheers and the entire room singing along.
Whilst the initial setlist was 18 songs, the evening flew by. From the moment, Noel and the band entered the stage the entire set was completely flawless. They decided to end the set with a four-song encore including “The Right Stuff”; the Oasis tracks “Go Let It Out” and “Don’t Look Back in Anger” and finally a cover version of the Beatles “All You Need Is Love”. The final track had the SSE Arena singing along as though their lives depended on it. It was the perfect end to a diverse and faultless night.