How do you start a review on one of the greatest song writers of the last 25 years? Well, I will start mine by telling you about my August bank holiday weekend, spent at a relatively new festival in the beautifully historic city of Portsmouth. The festival itself is called Victorious, after the world’s oldest naval ship still in commission which is preserved in a dry dock in the city, but less of the sentimentality, and more about the main event of the weekend, Noel Gallagher. As soon as he stepped on the stage, surrounded by thousands, he was the boss of everything that would happen within the next hour. His first act was to make the crowd his own, as a few rowdy lads started chanting their pompey songs he was quick with a reply of “Who’ve you got in the champions league, Exeter fucking City”.
Now into the music, it all started with tracks from the 2 albums released, the self-titled and Chasing Yesterday. As Noel and his High Flying Birds struck their first chords, the anticipation reached fever pitch, they began with, what I feel are, new classics, including Riverman, Lock All The Doors, In The Heat of the Moment and such tracks from the afore mentioned 2 albums. Then came his real swansong. The first few chords of Champagne Supernova resounded around Portsmouth seafront, and the next 7 or so minutes were electric, the baying audience in the palm of his hand as a perfect rendition fell upon the ears of the thousands amassed. But that wasn’t to be his joker in the pack, now followed 2 more fairly new tracks, Ballad Of The Mighty I and The Mexican.
Next came the real reason he had amassed a crowd of thousands on a Bank Holiday Sunday in what were turning into beautiful conditions. The guitar played and the goose bumps quickly followed, as Half The World Away came out of the speaker stacks. As an avid fan of The Royle Family and Gogglebox (of which she narrated) it was a beautiful mark of respect to Caroline Aherne. Then followed Wonderwall, preceded by a quick line from Noel “Apparently I’m not allowed to sing this one, but he’s a cunt n you lot wanna hear it so, here we go”. Safe to say the chance of reunion are as distant as they have ever been, but still a magical thing to be in the crowd singing along to. And to finish off what was just an hour long set, Don’t Look Back in Anger, elongated of course, and simply sublime. Given that this was one of the last sets the band have done on a 2 year worldwide tour; they didn’t miss a beat, the sense of humour hasn’t diminished and all in all, next time they go on tour again I would strongly advise you to get yourself some tickets, who knows when it may be the last?!
Words by Alex Russell (@Aruss54)