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Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds review, Wembley Arena, London: Sticking firmly to the present

Star offered a few classic Oasis hits but stuck mostly to his new material at this uplifting show

Alina Polianskaya
Monday 30 April 2018 11:01 BST
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Like Noel, who turned 50 last year, much of the audience were well past their teenage years, but the youthful spirit remained
Like Noel, who turned 50 last year, much of the audience were well past their teenage years, but the youthful spirit remained (Rex)

The man who was once part of one of Britain’s most famous bands looked completely at home taking centre stage at Wembley, supported by his team of sturdy musicians.

After kicking off the show with a melodic “Fort Knox”, Noel Gallagher wasted no time energetically getting into recent tracks ”Holy Mountain” and “It’s A Beautiful World”.

Like Noel, who turned 50 last year, much of the audience were well past their teenage years, but the youthful spirit remained as beer was flung and fists were pumped.

Dressed in a laid-back polo tee, Gallagher powered through a feast of tunes including “Ballad of The Mighty I”, “Riverman” and the rhythmic ”Dream On”, backed by everything from trombones to tambourines.

High Flying Birds fans sang every word, but others had clearly come hoping to hear some Oasis classics – most of which were penned by Noel.

It was the euphoric moment they had been waiting for when he asked if there were any Oasis fans in the house before launching into “Little By Little”, as voices raised in unison, louder than anything that came before.

“Half the World Away” provided another trip down memory lane, but Gallagher’s twist on “Wonderwall” jarred with voices belting out the original – which he seemed keen to avoid.

And yet “She Taught Me How To Fly” – the third single from new album Who Built The Moon – proved a highlight, and Gallagher seemed happiest showcasing more experimental sounds, like the rousing rendition of “The Right Stuff” alongside a female vocalist as part of his encore.

Then, after acknowledging playfully that some of his bandmates hailed from Liverpool, the proud Mancunian rounded things off with a joyful performance of The Beatles’ “Love Is All You Need” as giant red, blue and yellow balloons tumbled from the ceiling. The show offered a dose of nostalgia – but proved this a musician who is definitely not stuck in the past.

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