Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds @ Majestic Theatre, Dallas, TX

Words and photos by Scott Rowe
There's just something special about the Majestic Theatre in Dallas, TX.  From Elm Street, the outside of the performing arts venue is nothing spectacular, looking more like an office or apartment building.  The Granada Theater on Greenville sports a better facade but the Majestic's interior squashes all of the competition.  Elegant and classy, the main room creates a enthralling atmosphere, especially for a rock concert.  I'm sure it's one of many reasons that keeps Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds coming back to the historic venue.  While many in attendance would love seeing a reunited Oasis perform songs in an arena or stadium, I doubt many could find an atmosphere that could match the one at Majestic, where sound and production far surpass the muffled loudness of bigger shows.  It's just a great match, the Majestic and Noel Gallagher.

Just after the slated start time of 8PM, the lights dimmed and Noel and his High Flying Birds took the stage and jumped into the set, kicking it off with "Fort Knox", the opening track to his latest release, Who Built the Moon?.  He kept the album's track list intact for the first four songs, following "Fort Knox" with "Holy Mountain", "Keep On Reaching", and "It's a Beautiful World".  Not surprising if you've heard Noel and his Birds perform live before, but they are an absolutely amazing band.  Musicianship is at the forefront, starting with Gallagher and trickling down through his at-times nine-piece band (ten, if including backing vocalist YSEÉ).  But the heavy lifting of the set was done by Gallagher and a simple four-piece band of Mike Rowe (keys), Russell Pritchard (bass), Chris Sharrock (drums), and Gem Archer (guitar).  But much like how a live drummer can improve an electronic show, this show was bumped up a few notches with their three-piece horn section.

Just after the fifth song, "In the Heat of the Moment", Gallagher finally addresses the crowd with a simple, "thank you".  It was until a song or two later that he finally spent a few minutes behind the mic with no music playing.  "What day is it?"  "Tuesday?"  "Tuesday in Dallas."  "How have you been since the last time we came to visit?", referring to 2015's Chasing Yesterday Tour, which was at the same venue.  Cheers and hollers were heard throughout the Majestic, happy that Gallagher decided to make another visit to Dallas.  Gallagher and company continued to fly through his catalog, performing tracks "If I Had a Gun..." and "Dream On", both coming from the debut, self-titled album, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds.

Gallagher spots a man who has been dancing wildly since the opening notes of the set, he points him and tells the crowd, "the man in the white shirt is about to lose his shit.  He doesn't know it yet, but he's about to."  That's because Gallagher and gang jumped into their first Oasis song, "Little by Little".  While Gallagher has been outstanding with his performance to this point, it seemed he put a little bit extra in to this one.  The fans ate it up, roaring after the song and clapped wildly as the band calmly collected themselves for the next song.  "You're still fans of Oasis?", Gallagher quipped to the screaming audience.  He looked around and shook his head, "I'll tell my children. They're gonna be thrilled to hear that."  I'm not sure if he's taking a shot at fans who only come to his shows to hear Oasis songs, or that he continues to bank on songs that you'll never hear again live.  But ironically enough, Noel jumps into another Oasis song, "The Importance of Being Idle".

Again, if you've never seen this band perform live, you're definitely missing out on some outstanding artists.  Matched with the precise mixing of their sound guy and the fantastic output of the Majestic's sound system, the music is dynamic and a joy to listen to.  I also have to mention the beyond fantastic production for this tour.  At first glance, the stage looks pretty plain with a fabric backdrop and not much else on stage except for instruments, amps, and lights.  But the ability to change the mood and feel of the stage from song to song with only the theater's lighting was creative and fun.  Too many tours these days fall into the trap of having way too much on stage, too much investment into LED screens, or being simply boring from having the same lighting song after song.  The fabric backdrop almost came to life at times with the sprays of lights from behind, while lighting from above would make it dance.

As Gallagher and company were winding the initial set down, Noel got an earful from a fan near the stage, yelling requests to the frontman.  Noel at attention and told the poor soul, "not a fucking chance.  If you want to hear those songs, you'll have to *motions to the door* and  listen to the CD's".  Obviously the fan was mentioning obscure Oasis cuts, but lucky for him, the band jumped into "Half a World Away" and "Wonderwall".  The initial set ended with a rousing version of "AKA... What a Life!", which had the crowd bobbing their heads and singing with passion.  After a short intermission, the band came back to perform four additional songs in their encore, featuring Chasing Yesterday's "The Right Stuff", an energetic version of "Go Let It Out", a subdued "Don't Look Back In Anger", and a colorful cover of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love".  Running just under two hours, the band flew through a whopping 21 songs and they left the Majestic crowd thankful and fulfilled.  It was an amazing show, one which will be hard to beat for the best show this year.

Photos of the show are below:

enjoy.
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds @ Majestic Theatre, Dallas, TX Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds @ Majestic Theatre, Dallas, TX Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on 9:00:00 AM Rating: 5
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