Live Review: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Last night we went on a little office outing to The 02 Arena for what we will probably claim to be one of the best gigs of 2012.

But first I'm going to hand over to Mr. Neil Reed for a brief write-up of the support band, Reverend And The Makers.

I love the O2, it's a great venue, so well done to all for making something special out of it.

I have to confess that I sat in my seat at the O2 having done no research on Reverend and the Makers. I remember the hit Heavyweight Champion of the World and err… that is about it. I only knew one thing, Noel Gallagher is a fan. They supported Oasis on their last tour and seem to be linked on the live circuit in many ways. And this is where it goes wrong for me. I secretly wanted to write a scathing review based on them being there by their friendship to Gallagher and not their talent. But actually they were great, they'd done the work and were playing great music……and I really enjoyed it.

So I didn't know any of the songs but one (Heavyweight…), but songs like Bassline, He Said He Loved Me and Silence Is Talking were a breath of fresh air in a currently stodgy commercial pop filled world. How do I know the names of the songs? I've been listening to the band via Spotify all morning and I'm loving them!

In some cases there were painfully heavy nods towards 90's Mad-chester/Happy Mondays-esque guitar driven pop with big bold samples and 16th hammered hi-hats flying all over the place. Not a bad thing at all - it shows their influences loud and proud. But most importantly, it was done so well I didn't care of the over flattery to the scene.

Not the most concise review, but I'm off to find out a bit more about the band, but the important question is, would I go and see them again? Yes, without a shadow of a doubt. Looking forward to reviewing their new album @Revernd_Makers which is released on May 7th and the band are on tour in October. See you at Concorde 2 in Brighton on October 23rd.

The Following is my colleague Matt and I's review of last night:

"Someday, you might find your hero" is the the first line from AKA..What a Life. I found my hero a long time ago and last night I saw him sing that line at the 02 Arena. It doen't get better than that. I remain insistant that there is absolutely nothing better than a crowd full of people singing along together. The sense of unity is overwhelming, and with the talent, wit and musicianship of Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds, the night was near perfect.

Having seen Oasis twice back in their heyday, I was familiar with Noel's personality and stage performance and was looking forward to his humorous stories, however, Noel's lack of banter this time round turned out to be the only negative for me. I wanted more of his personality to shine through. I wanted him to talk to the whole audience instead of a few people at the front. But this was a very small speck on what was a fantastic show.

The new material went down extremely well (especially If I Had A Gun), and although I love the album, it's the old Oasis songs that strongly reside in my memories from last night. Particular personal favourites were Supersonic (performed acoustically) and Whatever, the latter of which hugely benefited from the addition of the fantastic backing choir. I was surprised at the the inclusion of the less well-known Mucky Fingers in the setlist, but hey, when you have a back catalogue as big as Noel does, you can play whatever you want. It was really great to have Noel playing songs he wanted to instead of obvious crowd pleasers but, again, not many tracks could get past such a loyal fan-base.

Noel gave every impression of thoroughly enjoying himself on stage - quite refreshing for a man who has been performing to sell out crowds for longer than I have been able to walk. For a man of such status, I was worried that he might be a tad blasé about playing The 02, but I had nothing to fear - he was as passionate and committed as ever.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds gave quite a performance. As I mentioned earlier, the choir was excellent, elevating the songs perfectly for the arena setting, and the brass trio (Trombone Trev, Trumpet Jack and Saxophone Andy) reminded the audience of the slick production elements and instrumentation on the record. The pianist and guitarist were both highly accomplished providing the foundations and riffs of all those famous songs. However, the Microsoft Publisher-esque screen graphics were certainly not up to scratch for an artist or venue of that scale. The audience was a surprising mix of young and old, proving the true transcendence and universal effect music has on people. You only had to scan around the arena to see grown men flinging their arms around each other, beer in one hand, pointing at Gallagher with the other, singing like their lives depended on it to realise that.

Set List:

  • (It's Good) To Be Free (Oasis cover)
  • Mucky Fingers (Oasis cover)
  • Everybody's on the Run
  • Dream On
  • If I Had a Gun...
  • The Good Rebel
  • The Death of You and Me
  • Freaky Teeth
  • Supersonic (Oasis cover)
  • (I Wanna Live in a Dream in My) Record Machine
  • AKA... What a Life!
  • Talk Tonight (Oasis cover)
  • Soldier Boys and Jesus Freaks
  • AKA... Broken Arrow
  • Half The World Away (Oasis cover)
  • (Stranded On) The Wrong Beach


  • Whatever (Oasis cover)
  • Little By Little (Oasis cover)
  • The Importance of Being Idle (Oasis cover)
  • Don't Look Back In Anger (Oasis cover)