Photos by: Julian Avram –
Review by: Adam Harrison –
Oasis legend, Noel Gallagher, stopped by Toronto’s Sony Centre for the Performing Arts last night (Feb. 20th) with his High Flying Birds for an evening of rock n’ roll sing-a-longs. Now with a flock of almost a dozen musicians backing him up, the theatre was the perfect venue for such an experience. For a band that doesn’t move around much, the music did all the talking. Accompanied by some 70s-esque visuals on a large circular backdrop behind the band to keep your eyes peeled, the combination of sight and sound made for a memorable evening.
Currently supporting his third album, Who Built the Moon?, Gallagher has more than enough material to put a well-rounded set together without relying on Oasis tunes to keep the audience engaged. In fact, the first five songs of the show showcased the power of the former Oasis guitarist’s latest record, including vocal exhibits like “It’s a Beautiful World” and “She Taught Me How to Fly.”
For the first half of the show, Gallagher stayed quiet, with the odd mumble here and there. But eventually his quick wit would get the better of him as he began interacting with fans. One interaction with a man near the front who clearly wanted his attention, went something like this… “Yes, what do you want? How am I? In a word, sensational. How about you? Amazing? What makes you amazing? Me?… More people should be like you. Give this man a fucking job.”
This led into the song, “If I Had a Gun,” in which Gallagher pointed at the man after lines like, “If I had a gun, I’d shoot a hole into the sun, and love would burn this city down for you.”
It wasn’t until the halfway point in the set we got our first Oasis song in the form of “Little By Little.” The crowd was on cloud nine as they sang along to every word and even overpowered Gallagher’s vocals for the chorus build-up line, “But my God woke up on the wrong side of his bed.” It almost made you feel like you were at home in Manchester with the band.
The main set wrapped up with Gallagher’s stripped down version of “Wonderwall” as well as one of his first singles with the High Flying Birds, “AKA… What a Life!” After a short encore break, the band returned and Gallagher warned us, “This song has never been performed before, you unlucky fuckers are the first to hear it,” before initiating “The Right Stuff” from their second album Chasing Yesterday.
The following finale was a trio of covers including Oasis hits, “Go Let it Out” and perhaps Gallagher’s most recognized masterpiece “Don’t Look Back in Anger.” The voices of the sold out crowd of nearly 3,200 bounced off the walls in overwhelming fashion as they flew high with Gallagher and co. As we came back to reality, Gallagher and the Birds wrapped up with a surprising cover of The Beatles, “All You Need is Love.”
Although an Oasis reunion is undoubtedly what the fans want the most, it’s great to see Noel Gallagher has adapted himself and his art successfully into this stage of his life and career. The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts was the perfect venue to showcase his matured sound proven by the number of smiling faces leaving the theatre at the end of the night.
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