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Review: Noel Gallagher at Egyptian Room

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Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
Wednesday, April 4

At one point during Noel Gallagher's High Flying Bird's performance at the Egyptian Room at Old National Centre, the audience broke into loud, sustained applause in the middle of a break between songs for no apparent reason. Gallagher studied the fans calmly, waited patiently and finally, as the noise died down, said, "Are you finished now?" He didn't sound sarcastic, just curious.

Since splitting from Oasis and his brother, Noel Gallagher has been working on the new band, resulting in a self-titled first album full of agreeable pop tunes tastefully done. It's a good record, particularly the track "AKA ... What a Life!" but not the kind of collection that drives people into a frenzy. Nothing wrong with that, but Gallagher and company's disciplined, reserved approach, on record and on stage, makes it easier to admire the music rather than go wild for it.

From my vantage point, many of the too-small crowd was worshipful of Gallagher, applauding strongly at the new material and going bat-shit crazy at the Oasis tunes. Gallagher didn't address the audience until several songs into the 90-minute performance, when he offered a simple "Hello." The fans went wild — the gentleman next to me screamed, "Thanks for talking to us!" and I don't think he was being a wise guy.

The show was solid, with a nice mix of old and new. Gallagher loosened up as the evening wore on, joking with the crowd while remaining ever so low-key. The band was spot on, though the keyboards seemed to be mixed a bit too hot at times. Hard not to enjoy yourself, but harder still for this casual fan to get enthusiastic over such a restrained presentation. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Bird's offers melodic rock filled with hooks and Gallagher's charisma. What they failed to provide is the madness, the sense of danger, that makes rock and roll truly electric.

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