On Wednesday night, a guy in the Orpheum Theatre audience yelled out, “Where’s Liam?”
After the question was greeted with loud boos, Noel Gallagher, the former Oasis
guitarist/singer/songwriter playfully asked from the stage, “Who’s Ian?” and then said, “I’m not your brother” (referring to the band once led by his sibling Liam).
Before the haunting mid-tempo rocker “In the Heat of the Moment,” Gallagher turned sardonic: “The last time I was in this building was to see Marilyn Manson with my brother – quite an (expletive) evening, as you can imagine. This is my least favorite song off the new album.”
It may be his least favorite, but that doesn’t hold true for fans in his native England, where the song narrowly missed topping the indie singles chart.
“Heat of the Moment” is the second track on Gallagher’s second album, “Chasing Yesterday.”
Released earlier this year, the album debuted at No. 1 in the U.K. Sonically adventurous, the collection strikes a compelling balance between majestic rock and psychedelia, with more prodigious brass accents and guest guitar work by Johnny Marr.
Back in the mid-1990s, when Oasis had a prosperous run and battled Blur for the so-called Britpop crown, Noel Gallagher routinely made headlines abroad for his frequently provocative opinions. The same holds true decades later. Recent quotes about Ed Sheeran’s success, the shifting of One Direction and the possibility of an Oasis reunion have all made the music and tabloid press.
Performing a sold out show in Los Angeles with High Flying Birds, Gallagher delivered an invigorating 90-minute set that was split between tracks from his solo albums and a handful of Oasis cuts.
The Mancunian musician and his four-piece group (plus a three-man horn section) took the stage to a mellow remix of “If I Had a Gun.”
They launched the 20-song set in raucous fashion with “Do the Damage,” a sax-driven Stooges-meets-Sonics rave-up originally earmarked for “Chasing Yesterday.” The dramatic “Everybody’s on the Run,” containing a swelling keyboard crescendo by the Birds’ secret weapon, Mikey Rowe, was mesmerizing. He proved his mettle again on the rollicking “AKA … What a Life.”
Images of old family photos flashed on the backdrop for Oasis B-side “Fade Away.” Gallagher, playing acoustic guitar, recast the 1994 original’s raucousness into slower folk/rock territory and it worked well.
Lead guitarist Tim Smith unleashed some feedback and then the band locked into a maelstrom of careening sounds during “Lock All the Doors” that packed quite a wallop. The same held true for the catchy stomper “You Know We Can’t Go Back.”
A more subdued, reworked version of Oasis hit “Champagne Supernova” prompted fans to clap along. Gallagher gently admonished them, “Don’t! My kids always do that.” It was still electrifying as people hoisted beers in the air, several males sang along loudly, arm in arm, like they were at a soccer match and others took the chorus to heart by lighting up.
Elsewhere, the ominous and danceable standout “Ballad of the Mighty I” saw Gallagher dominate with a rare guitar solo. Like other tracks that run past the five-minute mark on his albums, it never became tiresome live.
Sinewy ’70s-styled groove rocker “The Mexican” really gave the horns a chance to shine, as did a ruminative “The Masterplan.”
More excellent Oasis nuggets included the quick, blaring “Digsy’s Dinner” (Noel handled Liam’s sneering original vocal just fine) and soaring finale “Don’t Look Back in Anger.”
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