Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds @ Nippon Budokan (Apr. 15th, 2015)

Noel delivers a rousing preview of things to come this summer
Live Report : “Noel delivers a rousing preview of things to come this summer” @ Nippon Budokan 2015.04.15

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Brit-pop and the hold it had over the world may have very well been thanks to Noel Gallagher. His influence on millions around the world was a landmark in pop music history. Like most things, it didn’t last, Brit-pop, then Oasis eventually collapsed. Japan, being one of the biggest music markets in the world, naturally latched on. Something I’ve found with Japanese music fans is they are very dedicated to their chosen band or musician; these hardcore fans, generally stay big fans for life. That’s why it was no surprise that even though Noel’s new material doesn’t have quite the same impact he once did with Oasis, Japanese fans still follow his every move, gobble up his albums and don his t-shirts.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying BirdsIf the High Flying Birds were a band to be judged by their work alone, they probably wouldn’t be playing the Budokan at this point in their career. That said, his band is doing heaps better than his brother Liam’s, whose band Beady Eye broke up last year. Noel was back playing a sold-out show in this legendary venue again for the first time since 1998. But let’s not pretend anyone can really forget forget how Noel got to this point and why the majority of fans were here. Upon the start of the show, a woman up front reminded him, tossing a present on stage which was revealed to be a beauty face mask. She shouted, “Noel, please stay young.” To which the always modest Noel replied, “What really keeps me fuckin’ young is buying my records and t-shirts. So, you’ll do us a fuckin’ favour on the way out, ya.”

He played a set that consisted of mostly tracks off the two Flying Birds albums, which kept the ten thousand strong in attendance standing the whole 90 minute set. Some standouts of the show included, “Fade Away”, with Noel on acoustic guitar where he seemed most comfortable and assured. The opening track from the new album, Chasing Yesterday,“Riverman” shows potential for Noel in branching out musically, he played along with a horns section that sounded great live. Similarly from the new album, the tune “You Know We Can’t Go Back” particularly seemed to be enjoyed by fans and could have potential to be a sing-a-long hit this summer at Fuji Rock.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying BirdsNoel must have figured the karaoke-loving fans of Tokyo expected a tune or two they would be able to ring out to the rafters of the illustrious Budokan. He delivered the goods, sneaking in a slightly more melodic version of “Champagne Supernova” halfway through the set. He ended things euphorically dropping perhaps everyone’s most anticipated tune, “Don’t Look Back in Anger” which hardly required Noel to do much as the Budokan transformed into a giant karaoke box. Business out of the way, he left the stage coming back for a brief encore which featured possible future classics in “If I Had a Gun” followed by “AKA What a Life!”. He then closed with the Oasis b-side “The Masterplan”, which has often been credited as one of his favourite tunes he’s written.

Despite the slim Oasis offering the capacity crowd all seemed to be happy with the end product. No doubt some of these same adoring fans will be back this July at Fuji Rock welcoming Noel’s quick return. The choice for Fuji headliner seems a bit odd as he was privileged with the same position a mere 3 years ago in 2012 let’s hope he has something special planned to justify the decision.

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Photos:
Taio Konishi
taio@smashingmag.net
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Text:
James Mallion
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