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Noel Gallagher At Governors Ball, Sunday, June 7th, 2015, Review

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Try as Noel Gallagher might,spit curse, stomp his feet whatever, his songs will always sound better when his brother Liam sings them. Late in the set Sunday  evening Noel performed a breakneck “Digsy’s Dinner” off Oasis’ debut album the classic Definitely Maybe. The song is a rock and roll nursery rhyme though when Liam sang it, his stretched out last syllables gave it an odd edge, it became a love fable for the misbegotten.  Noel,who wrote it of course, can”t do it as well, though he tries to have his lasagna and eat it too,  so he keeps the volume up on his mic and speeds up the beat without being as fine. If it didn’t work, Noel was screwed but it works fine.

The entire set, a mix of six classic Oasis songs  and nine of  the best off his two solo albums as Noel Gallagher’s Flying Birds and
if Noel was trying to tell us they were all of a piece, they moved between each other as one pen and one sound,  he did so and then some. from “Lock All the Doors” he unleashing his brass section for “Riverman”, and two songs later he backed up “Champagne Supernova” with “Whatever” and the five songs were the essence of what made Oasis Oasis. All the instruments were played at the same volume, it was a wall of melody and guitars, keyboards and voice, a roar of power pop pleasure. Power pop? Sure, do you think the David Essex quote on “You Know We Can’t Go back” was an accident?  Noel’s gift isn’t lyric or singing, it is melody and sound, he is like a pop mbv.

“Who has been the best so far? The answer is us”, Noel claimed with his usual self effacement. Not a natural born lead singer, he keeps his presence low key, with only daft comments about the size of the trumpet to keep himself amused with, but the fallow leader stuff  doesn’t matter because the band is very good, especially the lead guitarist who hijacks “Champagne Supernova”. That song, listening to it again, sure I missed Liam’s nonchalantly aggressive “where were you when we were getting high” and the tug of nostalgia, I was at the 1996 MTV Music Awards at Radio City when the band sung this and I remember clearly Liam’s thuggish silliness both childlike and essence of rock and roll. It was the last song the band ever played together back in 2009 as well. Last night, Noel handed his solo over to Paul Stacey (? I think) and the song shimmers in the past and the present.

But everything here worked pretty well, songs I liked but didn’t much more than liked on the two albums zoomed into view,  “Riverman”, “The Mexican”, “The Dying Of The Light” all revealed themselves as hard ambient wallops, so in keeping with what we expect from Oasis.I missed Noel’s first solo tour because I just wasn’t bothered but maybe live is where he comes into his own as a no nonsense UK rocker who has a better feel for harmolodics then you might imagine, everything here is about arranging a sound where nothing sticks out and nothing goes under, just like Be Here Now taught us,  it is like a mountain that is all peak. Liam will always be missed but not half as much as Liam misses Noel. Best so far? I have to say, yes, the best so far.

Grade: A

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