Review: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at Heaton Park

Manchester legend Noel and his High Flying Birds are back playing their home town with their biggest gig in the city yet.

Image: Michael Bond

Taking place on Parklife’s main stage at Heaton Park, it was exactly 10 years to the day since Oasis last played in the exact same park, so it already felt like a very special event.

30,000 Oasis fans made their way through the rainy city to the park, many arriving as support act Inhaler hit the stage. The were followed by Doves, it’s been over 10 years since Doves have played, so everyone was overly excited to see them.

They smashed through a fantastic 12 track setlist; Snowden, Rise, Black and White Town, Words, Kingdom of Rust, Pounding, Last Broadcast, Winter Hill, 10:03, Caught by the River, The Cedar Room and There Goes the Fear.

The rock icon himself arrived on stage sporting the standard fitted black leather jacket, looking raring to go. He kicks things off with the familiar instrumental opener ‘Fort Knox’ followed by ‘Holy Mountain’.

Its soon time for a couple of newbies; ‘She Taught Me How to Fly’ and brand new track out this week ‘Black Star Dancing’ after which the band are joined by a backing trio of female singers. NG’s voice sounds great and the band are on top form.

Fan favourite Oasis B-side ‘Talk Tonight’ is the first Oasis hit of the evening, everyone is singing along. The gig continues with more Oasis and more heavy rain.

The High Flying Birds then swiftly vacate the stage, leaving NG alone and armed only with an acoustic guitar to perform an emotional version of ‘Dead In the Water’ the last track on the latest album, and one that has quickly become a fan favourite.

The band head back on and they smash through some High Flying Birds belters like; ‘Everybody’s on the Run’ ‘If I had a Gun’ and ‘AKA…What a Life’.

The Oasis masterpiece ‘Masterplan’ is next up (promoting a mighty camera-phone fest), through to ‘Wonderwall’, then ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’ where NG leaves the singing to the crowd, as the whole park sings it back, word for word.

Encoring with an Oasis classic trio; starting with ‘Whatever’….. and no matter how long NG continues as a solo act, it will always be the Oasis songs that the majority of his fans will come to hear, proven when everyone was singing their hearts out to ‘Half the World Away’ finally followed by Manchester’s most significant anthem ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’.

The main man lets the crowd take over the chorus, a huge goosebump moment at tonight’s gig. Finishing off with his ‘usual finale’ Beatles cover ‘All You Need is Love’ it’s an incredible finish. The fans make their way back through the mud, leaving the land well worn for tomorrow’s Parklife Festival goers.

Image: Michael Bond

The gig proved to be a masterclass from one of the greatest British songwriters – they don’t get much better!

SETLIST:
Fort Knox
Holy Mountain
Keep On Reaching
It’s a Beautiful World
She Taught Me How to Fly
Black Star Dancing
Talk Tonight (Oasis)
The Importance of Being Idle (Oasis)
Little By Little (Oasis)
Dead in the Water
Everybody’s on the Run
If I had a Gun
AKA…What a Life
The Masterplan (Oasis)
Wonderwall (Oasis)
Stop Crying Your Heart Out (Oasis)

ENCORE:
Whatever (Oasis)
Half the World Away (Oasis)
Don’t Look Back in Anger (Oasis)
All You Need is Love (The Beatles)

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