There's a reason NME awarded Noel Gallagher the Godlike Genius Award, and it was on full display at the Opera House in Boston on June 6.
At first it seemed pretty much business as usual. Gallagher and his band of High Flying Birds walked out, pickup their gear and tore into “Do the Damage.”
But throughout the show, I couldn’t help but wonder if Gallagher gets the credit he deserves for rocking as hard as he does. So many casual fans think merely of “Wonderwall” and a few other Oasis slow-burners, but that night, Gallagher delivered an unbelievably hard-charging show. His latest album, Chasing Yesterday, perfectly sets the stage for his up-tempo style of live performance.
The night was a fantastic mix of solo tracks and Oasis favorites. I hate to call them covers, considering the man who was singing them was the man who wrote them.
Having seen Oasis on nearly all of their U.S. tours, it's easy to say this show was more memorable. Part of the reason was its intimacy. I saw my last Oasis show with 20,000 other people. In contrast, there were a mere 2,600 fans at the Opera House, and their voices echoed throughout the venue as they sang along.
I remember—from that Oasis show—the arrogant Liam standing at the front of the stage while his brother worked his ass off behind him, moving things along like a true bandleader. Noel gives it his heart and soul; perhaps that's the residual effect of being the songwriter and not just the guy singing someone else’s words.
Best of all was Noel’s banter with the audience. A young man was trying to get Noel’s attention between songs by holding up his own band's CD. When he finally got Noel’s attention, the audience got their best entertainment.
CD in hand, Noel walked to the microphone with a confused look on his face.
“Listen, young people here, when you are giving away CDs with your shit, there’s not even a fucking name of who it is or what it is called or a phone number, nothin,’ ” he said. He asked the young man if his band is called the Invisible Band. It turns out it's called the Memo.
As quick as lightning, Noel replied, “The Memo—do you fucking get the irony of that? A CD with nothing written on it by somebody called the Memo. Fucking hell. Can somebody put that on YouTube? Please put that on YouTube. That’s got to be one of the funniest things I ever fucking heard.”
It turns out someone did:
It was obvious that several attendees showed up because they love Oasis and wanted to hear their hits, and along came “Champagne Supernova” and “Whatever.” The audience included a wide range of age groups—everyone from high schoolers to folks who could've been their grandparents.
But in the end, it didn’t matter; all were united as we sang along to hit after hit, culminating in a brilliant climax—"Don’t Look Back in Anger.” As always, Noel allowed the audience to own the song just as much as he does.