Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds played an hour-long set for an exclusive Apple film about their new album ‘Who Built The Moon’ at York Hall last night (November 1). Showcasing three previously unplayed song from the forthcoming third album, Noel also dived into his back catalogue to pull out several Oasis favourites as well as High Flying Birds hits.
“This is cutting-edge shit”
Hitting a stage imbued with a ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ feel by psychedelic ’60s carnival artwork on the synths and a caped flautist called Charlotte, Noel charged into recent Vaccines-like glam single ‘Holy Mountain’ in front of an amp stack draped in a Manchester City flag. He then debuted a psych rock new album track ‘It’s A Beautiful World’, featuring Charlotte playing the now famous scissor solo first seen on Later With Jools Holland the previous night. “Someone said to me ‘what’s with the scissors?” Noel said later in the show, “and I said ‘this is cutting-edge shit’.”
Mumbling something about passports to the front row, Noel plundered the second NGHFB album ‘Chasing Yesterday’ for two songs – the swamp soul ‘In The Heat Of The Night’ and the Weller-ish ‘Riverman’ – before admitting “these next two songs don’t mean anything much” and striking up a rousing ‘Little By Little’ accompanied by thunderstorm visuals, building to a climactic military tattoo. Chatting about Man City scores between songs, Noel then slipped modestly into an acoustic-led ‘Champagne Supernova’, the first of several huge sing-along tracks of the night.
The soul jams
Two more new songs exposed a more traditional retro vibe to the third album, with screen footage to match. The country noir of ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’ came with Grand Canyon visuals, gaining a slick funk lollop as a guest singer added fragmented backing vocals. Then pyramids filled the backdrop as Noel unleashed the Northern Soul Jam rampage of ‘Black & White Sunshine’, warning the crowd “don’t try to sing along because you don’t know the fucking words”.
Noel Gallagher: bad plectrum salesman
“Fifty pece?” Noel said, bartering over how much a fan in the front row should give him for one of his plectrums. “You know how much these cost? They cost about fucking 2p.” Having talked himself out of several English pounds on the contents of his mike stand, Noel regaled York Hall with a lustrous ‘Half A World Away’, letting the crowd sing the chorus with an impressed look on his face. Whether the fan is the same person that Noel later stops his band introductions to inquire about buying a used car from is uncertain.
“Twitter would go into meltdown”
After revisiting the fiery 80s-style epic ‘She Taught Me How To Fly’ that he’d premiered on Jools Holland, Noel referenced the fact that the audience had had their phones confiscated at the door to stop them filming the show, claiming “Twitter would go into fucking meltdown”. And he was right – the show closed with internet-breaking races through ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ and the dynamic detective rocker ‘AKA… What A Life!’.
Noel Gallagher releases ‘Who Built The Moon?’ on November 24.
Noel Gallagher’s setlist was:
It’s a Beautiful World(Live debut)
In the Heat of the Moment
Little by Little
Be Careful What You Wish For (Live debut)
Black & White Sunshine (Live debut)
Half the World Away
She Taught Me How to Fly
Don’t Look Back in Anger
AKA… What a Life!