The legendary rock star/outspoken critic of…everything, Noel Gallagher, descended upon Toronto’s TD Echo Beach this past Sunday with his band the High Flying Birds and delivered everything his fans wanted- in terms of both music and personality. In fact it would almost be appropriate to review the show as a concert and a stand-up performance based on the number of classic Gallagher quips and barbs thrown in between songs.
Noel and co. started out with a pair of traditional rockers, “Everybody’s on the Run” and “Lock All the Doors”, and for a bit the banter wasn’t much to talk about (pun intended). However by the time Noel’s latest hit “In the Heat of the Moment” rolled around, the jokester cranked up his attitude and was delivering on all fronts. First moment of cheekiness: Noel says to the crowd “this is for all you Oasis fans” before cleverly playing his own song “You Know We Can’t Go Back”. Of course the man has a heart and immediately afterward played his former band’s monster hit “Champagne Supernova” to sate the crowd’s appetite for the classics.
From then it was a fairly balanced setlist between his two albums, Oasis hits and numerous B-sides over the years, and trademark Noel Gallagher humour. When an audience member made a joint-smoking motion, Noel quipped “What the f are you doing, playing a tiny trumpet?”. When another audience member said they were a luge sledder, Noel pondered if that was the sport where you went down a hill on a breakfast tray. One man fainted briefly and after making sure he was alright, Noel asked if his song had been so amazing that it knocked him out. And this was just a small sample of the many jokes interspersed between the tunes.
Speaking of which, it wasn’t until the end of the show that the big guns came out. Despite telling the crowd that Oasis song “The Masterplan” would be the final song of the night, Noel came out for an encore that included not only big hit “AKA…What a Life!” from his self-titled debut, but the unimpeachable classics “Wonderwall” and “Don’t Look Back in Anger”. The latter brought so much fervour out of the crowd that he let them sing the big hook during the choruses before coming back in for the final round. Before leaving the stage he said he’d be back in Toronto soon, and he’d still be on the same tour. A final bit of dry humour from the Brit, but there’s little doubt that people would flock to see the same songs thanks to that ineffable charisma.