Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds @ Sony Centre

The legendary rock star/outspoken critic of…everything, Noel Gallagher, descended upon Toronto’s Sony Centre for the Performing Arts this past Tuesday with his band the High Flying Birds, and delivered everything his fans wanted – in terms of both music and personality. In fact, it would almost be appropriate to review the show as a concert and a stand-up performance based on the number of classic Gallagher quips and barbs thrown in between songs.

Noel and co. started out with a pair of brand new tracks from his latest album Who Built the Moon?, “Fort Knox” and “Holy Mountain”, and for a bit the banter wasn’t much to talk about (pun intended). However, by the time Noel’s 2015 hit “In the Heat of the Moment” rolled around, the jokester cranked up his attitude and was delivering on all fronts. First moment of cheekiness: introducing a track by saying “this song……………”

From then on, it was a fairly balanced setlist between his three albums, Oasis hits, numerous B-sides over the years, and trademark Noel Gallagher humour. He conversed with a particularly rambunctious member of the crowd, joking “look at this guy over here. How are you doing? Amazing? Why? Because of me? Sounds miserable. Get a job.” And this was just a small sample of the many jokes interspersed between the tunes.

Speaking of which, there was no shortage of classics over the course of the night. “The Importance of Being Idle”, “Little By Little”, and “Go Let it Out” were just some of the Oasis tracks brought out. The really big ones came towards the end of the set; “Wonderwall” and “Don’t Look Back in Anger” were so anticipated that the applause afterwards was louder than the songs themselves! The latter brought so much fervour out of the crowd that he let them sing the big hook during the choruses before coming back in for the final round. 

In another cheeky moment, Noel covered the Beatles “All You Need Is Love”, in a nod to his infamous quote about being bigger than the Fab Four. People are absolutely crazy for the man’s music, but Gallagher has proved he could tour strictly as a speaker – there’s little doubt that people would flock to see him thanks to that ineffable charisma.

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