Gig review: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at Scarborough Open Air Theatre

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds at Scarborough Open Air theatre. Picture: Cuffe & Taylor

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds at Scarborough Open Air theatre. Picture: Cuffe & Taylor

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THERE was a point when Noel Gallagher first went solo after the Oasis break-up where he told fans not to expect much different from him once he’d switched to an actual frontman.

There’d be little repartee, banter would be kept at a minimum, he’d be all about getting up and doing the music.

The music is undeniably quality and, such is his professionalism, you sense Gallagher will still be able to belt out his repertoire with the all the same sustained class and panache 25 years from now.

But, just as entertaining as his stunning set at Scarborough Open Air Theatre, where he performed with his High Flying Birds, was his craic with the crowd, too.

Gallagher, in a totally different way to his brother, is undoubtedly a showman, his caustic humour between songs making you feel, at times, like you get a gig and stand-up show all rolled into one.

He is famously outspoken, dry and witty so perhaps it should be no surprise.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds at Scarborough Open Air theatre. Picture: Cuffe & Taylor

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds at Scarborough Open Air theatre. Picture: Cuffe & Taylor

The proud Mancunian instantly set about winding up his crowd with a quip about the only good thing coming out of Yorkshire is its tea.

From imploring them o be “proper fans” and buy some merchandise so he never had to play Scarborough again – “I’m only doing this once. I’m on the same stage as Tony HADLEY?” – to inadvertently raising the prospect of an Oasis/Spandau Ballet supergroup playing there next year, his audience were eagerly anticipating his one-liners almost as much as the hits.

And what of those hits?

There was an equal split of NGHFB songs and Oasis – 10 apiece – and it is a sign of his current amalgamation’s quality that many of those sat quite easily alongside true classics from his former days.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds at Scarborough Open Air theatre. Picture: Cuffe & Taylor

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds at Scarborough Open Air theatre. Picture: Cuffe & Taylor

Gallagher got off to a storming start with Everybody’s On The Run followed by three more NGHFB numbers – Lock All The Doors, In The Heat Of The Moment and Riverman – before an almost ethereal Fade Away.

You Know We Can’t Go Back – “this is dedicated to all Oasis fans” – was followed by the sublime crowd-pleaser Champagne Supernova, dedicated to a girl in the crowd who, it emerged, had travelled all the way from Israel to watch him in action. Cue more banter.

Joined on stage by former Oasis bandmate Chris Sharrock on drums, there was plenty of their material in the second half of the show - Talk Tonight, 1994 B-side D’Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman, Half The World Away and Digsy’s Diner before a brilliant Masterplan.

The encore, inevitably, included Wonderwall – “I wouldn’t be here – or maybe only as a second assistant’s fourth assistant – if this hadn’t happened in 1995!” – AKA What a Life and, of course, arguably the most anthemic of all, Don’t Look Back In Anger, brought a fittingly rousing end to a superb performance.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds drew a large audience to Scarborough Open Air theatre. Picture: Cuffe & Taylor

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds drew a large audience to Scarborough Open Air theatre. Picture: Cuffe & Taylor

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