Even hours before his performance, one didn’t need a detective to deduce that former Oasis songwriter Noel Gallagher was the undisputed king of Boston, Mass. Saturday.
Though scheduled to play a concert at the Wang Theater, Gallagher’s name was being spoken in pockets all over the city long before he ever played a note. And for evidence, nowhere was this observation more clearly made then at venerable downtown nightspot/ renowned local dive bar The Tam (short for Tam ‘o shanter, a form of Scottish cap).
Popularly known for its cheap drinks and dimly-lit atmosphere, the Tam also became a temporary home to a motley collection of Gallagher fans, Oasis supporters, and soccer rooters thanks to its convenient location just a few hundred feet from the Wang.
In between thick accents and the occasional thicker brew, one Gallagher-penned track after another pounded its way out from the pub jukebox as a prelude to the rapidly-approaching gig down the street. And frequent bouts of crowd-led singing could be heard emanating from the back of the bar as spirits and anticipation were raised higher with every outstretched pint glass.
Surely, if this was only the beginning of the night, then what could a prospective audience member expect from the forthcoming show itself?
Well, that question didn’t take long to be answered as Gallagher and his band of “High Flying Birds” were greeted by raucous cheers and a standing-room only crowd during their punctual arrival on stage at 8:30 p.m.
Opening their set with the former Oasis b-side “(It’s Good) To Be Free,” the moment didn’t require too much imagination to speculate that Gallagher has already started to grow into his reluctant role as a frontman.
After the opening number, the Manchester-native who is affectionately-known as “The Chief,” even bantered good-naturedly back and forth with those nearest in the orchestra pit before calling out “This one’s called ‘Mucky Fingers’ for that man right there,” and then launching into the track from Oasis’ 2005 release Don’t Believe the Truth.
Yet, the overall purpose of the show wasn’t just about nostalgia and classic material. Once through with “Mucky Fingers,” Gallagher quickly shifted gears and hit his stride playing six new songs in a row including popular b-side “The Good Rebel” and the still unreleased “Freaky Teeth.”
A massive light show and projection screen displayed behind the group accentuated the action with wild strobes and pixilated scenes of quiet houses, country landscapes, and portions of Gallagher’s trilogy of currently available music videos. But for the most part such theatrics were unneeded, as those in attendance raised their arms and sung along in unison to every word regardless of the sights, and despite the fact that the album Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds was only released in the U.S. on November 8.
As a band, the HFB’s ably backed up Noel with drummer Jeremy Stacey keeping a steady beat all night even though he resembled a “droog” straight out of Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange.” However, some later moments were marred by poor-sounding organ shrieks, which while frustrating did little to derail the overall momentum of the concert.
Finally, after closing the main set with “(Stranded On) the Wrong Beach,” which features an appropriate chorus of “So long baby, bye bye,” Gallagher and company returned once again to pick up their instruments for a three-song encore.
Opening with the one-two punch of “Little by Little” and “The Importance of Being Idle,” Gallagher was almost drowned out by the enthusiastic sing-along of the finale “Don’t Look Back in Anger.” One excited fan even jumped on stage during the number and bowed in homage to his hero before being quickly chased by security.
Watch Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds perform “Don’t Look Back in Anger” live in Boston, Mass. here:
“Another breathtaking venue and a great gig. Really great atmosphere,” Gallagher wrote in his tour diary after the show. “What a wonderful crowd. They sang their hearts out. Good gear.”
And the party didn’t end there. As the masses filed happily out into the night, still more singing erupted on the sidewalk outside the venue with complete strangers linking arms to sway together.
“He pointed at me! Did you see that?” One particular fan could be heard exclaiming excitedly to his friends. “Noel!”
Such a small token of acknowledgement, but for that one lone soul and the many others who were in attendance the memories will continue to “Live Forever.”
Earlier in the evening, fellow English rockers the Hours received a subdued response during their almost 40 minute set, which consisted of a mere seven songs. A throbbing bass-heavy beat dominated most numbers with electric guitar and keyboard flourishes straining to be heard over the low end and vocalist Antony Genn. However occasional asides to the crowd like, “This song’s about growing up someplace shit,” or “This one’s for Scully,” kept the audience suitably entertained until Noel and company took the stage only a short 20 minutes later.
For more information on Noel Gallagher or to see future tour dates please visit http://www.noelgallagher.com.
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