“A beautiful world ?” Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds – Gig Review – SSE Wembley Arena

He stands up, he plays, he sings and he swears occasionally. For effect. Old school indie rocker. No need for niceties yet why should he? It would go against the grain, he has spent years cultivating an image so why change it now?

Then again, he does seem to have mellowed slightly, welcoming and embracing the three female members of his ‘high flying birds’, yet always with a put down for the fellas. That’s just the way it is in rock’n’roll.

Yet there is so much more to Gallagher than just standing up and playing. This was a big show and would have taken huge preparation. Ten band members including saxophone and trombone, a spectacular light show and images projected on the backdrop screen for the whole two hour spectacular.

He has a quite phenomenal back catalogue and it cannot be easy deciding which songs to play on tour. With three ‘High Flying Birds’ albums he was always going to showcase the latest one and rightly so. “Who built the moon”, released in November 2017, is another powerful effort and he kicked off the gig with the opening five songs from this album, before saying ‘hello’. The slightly sarcastic “It’s a Beautiful World” is arguably the pick of the bunch, with its dance track beat building up to a dreamy chorus, a beautiful song indeed.

Yet he will forever be associated with Oasis and it is always their songs which resonate most with the crowd. Little by Little, Wonderwall and Don’t Look Back in Anger were belted out and sung by the majority of the audience at the top of their voices, memorable anthems which will live forever.

However, for all the undoubted quality of the music, Gallagher gigs do not always make for a beautiful night. The background show on the big screens could be considered a little over the top at times, diverting attention from the brilliance of the music. Big arenas do need big images, but there can be a limit. The performers are often just a speck in the distance for many, so close up camera footage of the band is essential but the constant changing of wild and wacky projected images, no doubt very cleverly compiled, often felt like an unnecessary distraction.

Add in the audience’s propensity for more and more beers, okay it was London Town on a friday night, and consequently more and more toilet breaks, then it felt as though something was lost from the whole experience.  But heh, that’s rock’n’roll.

‘Be Careful What You Wish For’, Gallagher might argue, and he’s probably right. His music lives on, he keeps recording excellent new material, he keeps touring, he keeps performing and he is good at it. Very good at it. A beautiful dream ? Dream On.

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