Live Review: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Bi...

Live Review: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at The Portsmouth Guildhall

Noel Gallagher took his army of fans on a journey through his High Flying Birds back catalogue and all the way back to the 90’s in a sold out show at Portsmouth Guildhall.

Tonight’s performance, part of a small run of south coast shows, is a warm up for the Teenage Cancer Trust Show at The Royal Albert Hall the following night.

The venue was packed to the rafters for this gig, which sold out in less than an hour when tickets went on sale. This venue would qualify as fairly intimate when compared to the normal arenas & festivals that Noel and his High Flying Birds tend to play. Their last performance in the city was to headline Victorious Festival in 2016.

The draw of Noel can be seen from the variable age of the crowd – those who will have seen Noel in his Oasis days through to their kids who have heard his songs from their parents CD collection. All out in force, for one thing, a mass singalong. This is something that Noel appears very much aware of, as he doesn’t shy away from playing the crowd pleasing songs that his fans pay their money to see.

Tonight’s setlist started with his new material, with Noel stating ‘we are going to backwards in time, ending in the 90’s. Which drew loud cheers from the obvious Oasis fan base in the crowd.

Kicking off with ‘Pretty Boy’, which was followed up by ‘Council Skies’, ‘Open The Door, See What You Find’, ‘We’re Gonna Get There In The End’ and ‘Easy Now’, all taken from his most recent 2023 album ‘Council Skies’.

Moving through his NGHFB back catalogue, treating the crowd to hits including ‘We’re On Our Way Now’, ‘In The Heat Of The Moment’, ‘AKA What A Life!’ and ‘If I Had A Gun’, Noel and his band are on a roll.

With the back catalogue of anthems that Noel has it is no wonder that the volume increases as the tunes (and beers) flow.

With the words ‘this is where shit gets real’ marking the start of the Oasis section of the show, Noel moves straight into ‘Going Nowhere’ and the classic ‘Talk Tonight’. The latter being one of my favourite Oasis songs from back in the day, released as a B-side!

Up next is the brilliant (non album single) ‘Whatever’ and ‘Half The World Away’, which feels like the real start of the mass sing-a-longs with Noel stepping back from the mic to let the crowd take over the chorus.

‘The Masterplan’ and ‘Little By Little’ wrap up the Oasis part of the main set, which closes with a wonderful cover of Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’.

The inevitable encore commences with ‘Stand By Me’, before Noel plays a beautifully stripped back acoustic version of ‘Live Forever’, this gives the track a new lease of life (not that it needs it) taking it in a more soulful and deeply meaningful direction. Anthemic in every way.

The finale, as is always the case with NGHFB, is the classic that is ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’. A track that I feel defines an era and Noel Gallagher (it is the song that always comes to mind when I think of him). I have never personally heard this song sung so loud by so many people, a fitting end to a brilliant show that was a mixture of new music and nostalgic Oasis gold.

Noel Gallagher is The Chief after all.


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