May 14, 2015
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Justin Press
Photos by Fabien Castro
The Last True Remaining Rock Star Soars
As the chief architect for Oasis, arguably the most popular British rock band of the last 30 years- a perfect mix of the Fab Four, the Jam and The Who music for punters with a epic sense of melody and lyrical prowess-Noel Gallagher could easily coast on his past, but tonight he exemplified why he's in the same sphere as Lennon, Weller and Townsend.
Leading his 5-piece band (with assorted horns for tracks from his latest Chasing Yesterday) through hefty portions of his two HFB solo efforts along with some bombastic Oasis gems, Gallagher proved his guitar playing, masculine voice and wry wit was top notch as was his choice of staging and lighting: a simple backline with a massive screen and superb lighting, enough mood to support the gorgeous melodies of tracks like the Pink Floydian "Riverman" and "Ballad Of The Mighty". The Oasis rocker "Fade Away" was given an electric acoustic treatment, letting his voice coax the audience into "their dreams as children" with accompanying video montage of our lives gone bye. "Lock All the Doors" is a pub rocker with enough grit to pacify even the toughest parts of the city, while "Dream On" retains that Gallagher signature verse-chorus that fills soccer stadiums worldwide. Live, the nuances of his best tracks really shine through and you realize what a damn fine writer he is; we're talking Pet Sounds/ Rubber Soul quality here. The "ohh's" and "lalala's" usually hidden are in full bloom and given a bit of the 60's Mersey sound to the already very "English" stylings.
"Champagne Supernova" brought the capacity crowd to its feet with Noel obliging them to take over the choruses, while the bustling "Digby's Diner" from 1994's Definitely Maybe was searing, like the aforementioned The Jam taking a stab at it; he's breathing new life into decade-old monsters. But it was his newer beasts that really drove home his brilliance with a healthy dollop of tracks from his debut. "(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach," "Everybody's On the Run" and "If I Had a Gun," all lyrically savvy numbers that benefitted from solid musicianship, including several solos by Jellyfish guitarist Tim Smith, which helped open Gallagher as a band director. Yes, he's the centerpiece but he's got quality in all points of the map.
Clocking in near an hour and forty-five minutes, Gallagher hit upon the Oasis B-side "The Masterplan," a sweeping peon to the inevitables of life which quite honestly should have been of the same magnitude as "Wonderwall" commercially. "AKA…What A Life" makes you realize that both High Flying Birds records are right up there with Band On The Run- proper English rock, bare-bones but classic and poetic. The evening's closer, "Don't Look Back in Anger," was all you wished it to be: massive and overwhelming. With the flourish of Gallagher's solos, you can just imagine Wembley Stadium shaking to its foundations. Throughout the evening the familiar Manchester "charm" had shown through, mixing his ability to be cutting as well as humble. Always good for a laugh, tonight the laughter was supported with a master class in showmanship, performance and ultimately delivery.
Every punter from here to Dover is hoping for the "reunion," but if the elder Gallagher keeps churning out the goods like he's done as a solo act, then THAT band can wait. This has legs.