"Oasis are releasing a greatest-hits album, Stop The Clocks, later this month, and to celebrate, the band's
Noel Gallagher and Gem played a special Los Angeles concert on Thursday, November 9, for listeners of local radio station Indie 103.1 FM. Presumably, Noel's brother/bandmate/occasional nemesis
Liam Gallagher couldn't be bothered to make the journey across the pond to participate, but given that Noel has always been main songwriter for Oasis (and, some would say, the more vocally talented Gallagher brother), the delighted contest winners in the audience didn't seem to miss Liam at all.
After a screening of the Oasis tour documentary Lord Don't Stand Me Down, Noel, Gem, and a percussionist introduced only as "Gary" wordlessly made their way onto the stage of L.A.'s Wadsworth Theater, where they played a stripped-down concert starting with "(It's Good) To Be Free," "Talk Tonight," "Fade Away," and "Cast No Shadow." Noel then dryly quipped, "Let's play another song that's not coming out on our album," drolly referring to the fact that three of the set's first four songs are not even featured on Stop The Clocks. How Gallagher-like of him.
Throughout the show, Noel bantered in trademark Gallagher fashion with the diehard fans in attendance, gruffly grunting in response to their constant declarations of adoration and song requests (and once shushing them when he was trying to tune, and another time barking at them to "fook off" in his impenetrable Mancunian brogue). At one point, when a wiseguy in the audience cried out for a drum solo, Noel retorted, "You're obviously on very, very serious drugs. Someone should take them off of you and put them in my dressing room." And perhaps most amusingly, he introduced one song with, "This is a new song I've been working on; it sounds like something else and it's doing my f--king head in, [trying to figure out] what it is"...only to then play the Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever."
His demeanor may have been rough at times, but when Noel sang, his voice was positively crystalline, and the sound created onstage seemed far too big and bombastic to be the work of merely three musicians--especially on Noel's signature anthem, "Don't Look Back In Anger." Conversely, "Wonderwall" took on a wonderfully bluesy quality performed stark and solo by Noel, as did a sad and pensive version of "Slide Away" and the whimsical finale, "Digsy's Diner."
As the night ended and Noel declared, "We're going to get absolutely hammered after this" (a comment that was met with wild applause), Noel signed off in true Oasis fashion, saying, "Thank you for coming, but really, you should be thanking me, because I'm not getting paid for this and it cost me money to get here!"
Noel needn't have worried--judging from the elated crowd reaction, those who were lucky enough to attend this special gig were indeed quite thankful.