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November 12, 2011 / jhsaeger

Noel Gallagher Flies High in U.S. Solo Debut

   The pristine setting inside Philadelphia’s Academy of Music did not escape Noel Gallagher last night, as the Brit noted that the 154 year-old the concert venue was “a little dose of the Albert Hall.”  Gallagher’s first show in the United States on his High Flying Birds tour played well in the intimate setting on Friday, allowing the audience to see the British songwriter up close in his first solo tour.

   The new material mostly translated well to live performances – the lone exception being “Aka… What A Life,” which lacked the dueling keyboards that allowed it to stand out on the record.  An interesting change came from “The Death of You and Me.”  Standing in for the horn section that appeared on the LP was pianist Mike Rowe, who created a part that sounded like a player tickling the ivories at a Western saloon.  Gallagher also performed the unreleased song “Freaky Teeth,” which was well-received by the mostly full Academy.
   As for his Oasis catalog, Gallagher played many of the essentials that he had penned for the former Brit Pop kings.  After opening with “(It’s Good) To be Free” and “Mucky Fingers”, “Wonderwall,” “Supersonic,” and “Little by Little” were among the past hits to be played.  Much to the delight of the audience, the band closed with “Don’t Look Back in Anger.”
   Gallagher also earned points from those in attendance by dedicating “What a Life” to Philadelphia boxing icon Joe Frazier, who passed away earlier this week.
   The evening’s opening band, The Hours, were accustomed to traveling in such esteemed company.  As frontman Antony Genn noted, the last time they played in Philadelphia they had been with the legendary Joe Strummer.  Also in support of a recent project, The Hours performed songs from their two-week old EP I Want More.  Ironically, The Hours kept with the boxing theme of the evening by playing their best-known song “Ali In the Jungle.”

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