Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at South Facing Festival
Summer 2023 has proven to be the summer for Britpop acts, with Pulp and Blur reuniting. Noel Gallagher, of course, a mainstay of the era with Oasis, has been on the road for his fourth album with High Flying Birds, Council Skies, released in June. The latest leg of his tour was headlining South Facing Festival in Crystal Palace on Friday 28th July.
Prior to Gallagher hitting the stage, the sizable crowd were treated to a show from Johnny Marr, who powered through both solo material, Smiths and Electronic hits, including This Charming Man, Please Let Me Get What I Want, Panic and How Soon Is Now, rounding his set out with singalong renditions of Getting Away With It and There Is a Light That Never Goes Out. It was the perfect way to warm up the audience for the main event while proving the strength of Marr’s back catalogue as both a solo artist and with his work in The Smiths and Electronic.
Gallagher’s gig started as the sun began to set with a considerable portion of his latest record, festival attendees seeming to enjoy the new material, reflecting how well received it has been to date. He opened with Pretty Boy, followed by strong versions of the title track Council Skies and Easy Now, before launching into some of his better-known numbers with both High-Flying Birds and Oasis. The show then worked backwards through his illustrious career, with powerhouse performances of the likes of In the Heat of the Moment, If I Had a Gun, AKA What a Life! and the acoustic-led Dead in the Water.
While the High Flying Birds songs went down well, the main reason likely for many in attendance was to see Oasis material live, with the second half of the set rattling through some of their best-loved tracks, largely those that Noel himself sang, with The Masterplan, The Importance of Being Idle and Little By Little all earning a rapturous response. The encore consisted of The Mighty Quin by Bob Dylan, before a slowed-down, but nonetheless impressive, rendition of Live Forever and the eternal favourite Don’t Look Back In Anger.
This was a superb show from a consummate professional in fine voice, delivering what we expect from “The Chief”. Close to 30 years on from Oasis’ debut, Gallagher demonstrated there is still plenty of mileage in the tank, taking the audience on a journey through his discography, with an array of Oasis classics and both his best-loved and newest High Flying Birds material. Having Marr play beforehand was the icing on top of a pleasant afternoon and evening of live music in the picturesque setting of Crystal Palace Bowl.
Photos: Adam Hampton Matthews
Watch the video for the single Council Skies here: