Every interview Noel Gallagher does these days, seems to feature the question “Will Oasis reform?”
Having seen him smash Manchester to pieces with a set which created monumental sing along moments and confirmed him worthy of the “Godlike Genius award” he was recently given, I doubt he will be needing to rush off back to Liam anytime soon.
Not a single seat was left unused, not a single standing space left empty as Manchester filled the MEN to pay homage to a homegrown hero and boy, did he deliver.
Support came from Sheffield’s Reverend & The Makers who a played a good set which didn’t expose any potential rustiness considering they had only played together for the first time in two years, three days before.
At times the crowd were a little bit lacklustre in response to the Makers, generally standing and watching rather than throwing themselves into it.
Not to be beaten however McClure won them over part through sheer enthusiasm and part through having tunes such as “Open Your Window” and “Heavyweight Champion of The World” in his armoury. The sheer weight of such tunes forcing the crowd into singing them back rapturously.
Not only back playing live the new look Makers are back with new material and new free to download single “Bassline” sounds like a brilliant returning track. More dance inspired than before, the heavily Sheffield accented piercing vocal delivery of McClure made this a fantastic live song.
“Shine the light of luck on me” also sounds like a promising anthem in the making that come their own headline tour in May will be a fans favourite.
Big shout out too for the fantastically hypnotic dancing of Laura Manuel on keyboards who has clearly spent the last two years polishing off some lovely looking moves.
Thoroughly warmed up and almost at the point of hysteria the gap between the support and Noel was punctured by hopeful cheers as light changes and PA music silences were falsely interpreted as the entrance of the returning hero.
At the turn of 9pm, the master strolled to the stage and for the next hour and a half took Manchester in the palm of his hand and sent them barmy.
It is testament to Gallagher’s songwriting abilities that the first two songs “It’s good to be free” and “Mucky Fingers” despite being a b-side and an album track went down a treat, sung by every man woman and child.
With a back catalogue that most would envy, getting the balance between new and old songs was always going to be a challenge. In the end, he probably got it right and for 90 minutes Manchester did it’s best to sing its self hoarse.
“Everybody’s on the Run” backed by a choir was majestic, soaring up to the vast roof spaces of the MEN, bouncing around the arena as the crowd screamed back the words.
“Dream On” was equally well received and “If I had a gun” proved its self to be just as good an anthem as it is a beautiful, vulnerable masterpiece of songwriting. A natural successor to Wonderwall it appears to be.
“The Good Rebel” and “Freaky Teeth” allowed the crowd a breather as they took in the less familiar material. It was a breather they used well and it allowed them to sing themselves hoarse as Gallagher delivered stormer after stormer.
First solo single “Death of You and Me” has been greeted with overwhelmingly positive feedback and it’s popularity showed on the night as it’s opening seconds were welcomed deliriously and the arms were held aloft as the masses bowed at the hero before them.
A man of few words on stage since he became a front man, Gallagher’s interactions with the crowd were minimal but as ever he knew exactly what the crowd was going to react to.
One of the coolest men in rock, Noel set the crowd off as he paused and declared “This one is for the coolest fucking man in the world…Balotelli.”
Inevitably this created pantomime boos and applause depending on footballing allegiances but it flamin’ worked as the MEN twisted itself mental to the dancey bouncing sounds of AKA…What a life.
The middle of the set was brought to life by the charming, acoustic version Supersonic and the ever resounding “Half the World away” before an encore of Oasis hits.
Three Oasis anthems “Little by Little”, “The Importance of being Idle” and “Don’t look back in anger” finished off the night, a perfect way to end what had been a perfectly balanced set of tunes that confirmed Noel Gallagher’s place as a brilliant songwriter and an understated but fucking brilliant performer.
Voices hoarse, throats sore, arms aching Manchester left the M.E.N. Arena on Monday fully aware it had just stood and watched a genius perform.
On this evidence the only way Oasis will reform is if Liam turns and begs, because Noel has hit new heights.
(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