The First Noel - Gallagher, Snr. live NY debut - Beacon Theatre
Sticky Carpets is proud to feature the first guest gig review from renowned football blog royalty, The Ball is Round. Take it away Stuart:
This was to be a first for me. Out of the hundred or so gigs I had seen in my life I had never seen one outside of the UK. I have always had a romantically strange thought of seeing someone from England playing abroad - almost as if I should get special treatment because we have a kinship. I expect that part way through the concert the artist will stop and give a shout out to “my mate Stuart from back home” just because I have made the effort to see them on different shores. Of course that is never going to happen, and as I took my place in the Beacon Theatre tonight I was simply another face in the crowd waiting to see Noel Gallagher’s attempt to break North America.
Pure co-incidence saw me in New York City for the third date in Noel’s tour in the USA and I had to see this. As opposed to playing the big arenas in the UK such as the O2 in London or the NIA in Birmingham, the North American tour was being hosted in smaller, more intimate venues. Would it work? Only 90 minutes would tell.
Arriving at the venue it was clear the Ex-Pats were out in force. A sizeable number of fans wearing Man City merchandise and even one guy braving the potential wrath of Gallagher by sporting a Green and Gold scarf. Pint in hand I took my seat in the middle balcony with a perfect view of the stage. Bang on 9pm the stage went dark and the guitar riff of the Oasis cover ‘(It’s Good) to be Free’ was drowned out by the cheers from the crowd. Some perplexed Americans around me asked what song number two was (‘Mucky Fingers’) before bopping away in their seats as if they knew all along.
Gallagher took until the end of the third song to acknowledge the crowd, commenting on the unusually warm weather in the city with “Fucking Global warming eh” before a few numbers from the excellent new album. The highpoint for many in the audience came when he played ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Supersonic’ as solo acoustic numbers, something he hadn’t done on the tour to date. To say they brought the house down would be an understatement, although fortunately strict US fire regulations saved us from the awful scene of thousands of people swaying holding lighters in the air.
With a waft of “tobacco” in the air Gallagher started to enjoy the banter with the crowd and spotting a Man City scarf being held up he made a comment about the New York football team that few got (The New York Jets had been stuffed the night before) before shouting “Fuck United”. The clueless guy in front of me shouted “Yeah! And fuck Delta too”…He dedicated the next song to being a Man City fan, ‘AKA What a Life’ which is now becoming synonymous in England for football thanks to the Vauxhall ad for the England team.
But here is a question. Whilst playing the anthem Half the World Away, made famous of course by The Royle Family, I pondered a question. By playing an Oasis song that he wrote, is it technically a cover version? Any track listing for the concert would suggest so, but if he wrote the song on his own then surely it is his and thus it cannot be a cover.
(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach closed the show, although of course we had theprescribed three encore numbers. It was obvious he would end with HIS song, ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’, which for the first time in the evening saw the whole audience rise, but what else? Cigarettes & Alcohol? ‘All Around the World’? Perhaps a rare version of ‘Whatever’? ‘Little by Little’ sated most fans and the a rendition of the classic from ‘Don’t Believe the Truth’, ‘The Importance of Being Idle’ completed the show.
The audience wanted more, but it was not to be - a ninety minute show with twenty songs, with nine Oasis numbers was a decent night out. This tour is certainly not to be missed in the small venues where the power of the cords can be felt although my only two minor grumbles were at times the keyboard mic was turned up too much and there was an over use of powerful spotlights which blinded the audience far too often. Having seen Oasis live on a number of occasions and all of the arrogant pomp that went with it this was so different. It was intimate and you got the feeling that this was a Noel Gallagher at his best, playing at the peak of his career. I may be wrong - he may up his game for the Arenas but for one night, even he said it, it was “too cool for school”.
(It’s Good) To Be Free
Everybody’s on the Run
If I Had a Gun…
The Good Rebel
The Death of You and Me
(I Wanna Live in a Dream in My) Record Machine
AKA… What a Life!
Soldier Boys and Jesus Freaks
AKA… Broken Arrow
Half The World Away
(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach
Little By Little
The Importance of Being Idle
Don’t Look Back In Anger
Sticky Carpets Definitely (maybe) rates this gig 9 pints out of 10