Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – SSE Arena, Belfast Wed 9 May 2018
By Claire Vitti
With the mighty Ed Sheeran playing a concert to an estimated 42,000 fans across the city on the same night, you could have forgiven Noel Gallagher for being slightly concerned about getting the numbers for his gig in the SSE Arena but he needn’t have worried, and to be fair, he probably didn’t. The mood in Belfast was electric as thousands arrived throughout the day to make their way to their concert of choice and despite the torrential rain, spirits were high.
It was relatively easy to figure out who was going where with the young and trendy heading towards the south of the city and the (slightly) older and greyer of us heading towards the SSE. Brit-pop youths of the 90s were instantly recognizable with their distinctive Gallagheresque haircuts, parkas and battered Adidas tops.
Almost a year since the Manchester Arena terror attack, security was the most stringent I have ever experienced and brought back a sharp reminder that not even music events can escape such atrocities. Once inside though all that was forgotten as we counted down the minutes until Mr Gallagher arrived on stage. We were entertained by Baxter Dury (son of Ian) while we waited although he seemed to have enjoyed a small libation before coming on stage and subsequently was in his own little world and one which he had no inclination of letting us in on.
Noel arrived in a flurry of lights and lasers and with his customary Manchester City flag draped over his amp and launched into the first track of his latest album ‘Who Built the Moon?’ before treating us to his last single ‘Holy Mountain’ and the current track ‘It’s a Beautiful World’. Tracks from past albums weren’t overlooked either with ‘AKA What a Life’ sending the audience into raptures but it was the old Oasis classics which the fans really wanted to hear and Noel didn’t disappoint with ‘Half the World Away’ – an emotional tribute to the late Caroline Aherne; ‘The Importance of Being Idle’; ‘Wonderwall’ and the iconic ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’. With his usual quick wit and banter combined with his polished performance will last long into the memory until we all get that long-awaited Oasis reunion #fingerscrossed