In case you were wondering how Noel Gallagher is feeling about his solo career in relation to that of his former band Oasis, a quick glance at his current tour’s setlist should set you straight. At The Anthem on Monday, The Chief opened with nine, count ’em, nine songs from his post-Oasis solo career, including the first four songs in order from his latest solo effort, Who Built the Moon?
There has been some consternation among Noel fanboys about Who Built the Moon?, which was produced within an inch of its life by dance music veteran Dave Holmes. Written entirely in the studio, it’s certainly a departure from Gallagher’s earlier work and was no doubt inspired by the positive reaction to four-on-the-floor stompers “What A Life” and “In The Heat of the Moment.”
Live, however, the new songs get to breathe a bit and most importantly sound like quintessential Noel. It’s pretty much impossible not to raise your beer in the air and sing along to the chorus on “Black and White Sunshine.” Freed from its country-western production, “Be Careful What You Wish For” in particular stood out as a slinky, funk jam — and it was just sexy as hell.
And of course, there were Oasis songs. “The Importance of Being Idle” and “Little by Little” primed the pump and “Half The World Away” furthered the set-up for the inevitable “Wonderwall” and obligatory “Don’t Look Back in Anger.” The big surprise of the evening was “Go Let It Out”, which prior to this tour hasn’t been played since 2002. With Noel’s softer vocals in place of his brother Liam’s trademark sneer, the tune became a breezy singalong instead of a stadium banger and it served the song well.
The highlight of the night was “Dead in the Water”, which opened the encore. Performed live for just the third time, this haunting ballad is without a doubt one of Noel’s all-timers. It’s easy to envision a future where the audience sings along to it with the same gusto as “Don’t Look Back in Anger.”
All photos in this review courtesy of Kyle Gustafson with appropriate rights reserved by Noel Gallagher.