Saturday 16 February 2019

Noel and his Birds are flying into Dublin

Will Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds aim for the moon for his next album? Definitely maybe, hopes Barry Egan

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

When his daughter Anais was born on January 27, 2000, at the Portland Hospital in London, Noel Gallagher held her in his arms for the first time and was overcome with emotion.

"I was crying," Noel told me in 2007. "I suppose at that point, when you are doing drugs and sitting up till seven in the morning watching stupid videos and somebody puts your baby in your arm, that's it, the meaning of life is children. It is procreation."

I don't doubt that leaving the past-its-sell-by-date Oasis and, in particular, the industrial-strength toxicity of his relationship with younger brother Liam, was something of an eye-opener/nigh-epiphany, too.

Post-Oasis, Noel has come into himself. As opposed to going up himself in the later years of Oasis.

Yes, he made some of his greatest albums - some of the greatest albums, period, with Definitely Maybe and (What's the Story) Morning Glory? - but Noel seems liberated, happier, now without the perma-rage of his sibling around him.

That said, like every Oasis fan, I would love to see Noel and Liam back together for one last album, for one last tour. Lest we forget, Noel left one of the biggest bands in the world on the infamous night of August 28, 2009, in Paris after a barney-too-far with Liam before Oasis's show in the French capital.

"Ten years later, I'm still on tour, I feel younger, I'm better looking, I have a better band and I write better songs," Noel told Rolling Stone Argentina late last year. "I'm happier and Manchester City won the Premier League three times. What more could I ask for?"

When I interviewed Noel in late 2017, around the release of High Flying Birds's sublime album Who Built the Moon?, I asked him did he think the first two Oasis albums, Definitely Maybe in 1994 and (What's the Story) Morning Glory? in 1995, were his heyday. "In terms of record sales, clearly, but I think it's now with this record," he answered, referring to Who Built the Moon?

"I'm at a peak. Some kind of peak. And peaks are only relevant to the troughs, right? So you're down here one minute and up here the next. So I'm at some f***ing kind of peak. How high that peak is, I don't know, but it is the first time in my life that I feel that I have come to that conclusion, and how I react to it from here on in is going to be fascinating."

What should be truly fascinating is seeing how far he and his co-conspirator David Holmes - who produced Who Built The Moon? - intend to take this next album.

Will it go more down the experimental Primal Scream/cinematic route that Who Built The Moon? hinted at? I hope so. Rumour has it that Gallagher and Holmes have already started work on the new record. In any event, you can never bet against the Burnage boy who wrote Live Forever, Wonderwall and Don't Look Back in Anger.

I am assuming that said album will be in the can before Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds play Malahide Castle on June 16.

It will doubtless sell-out regardless. Mr G, has, of course, many happy memories of Ireland. As he told Kirsty Young on the BBC's Desert Island Discs radio show in 2015 of his happy childhood holidays in County Mayo: "[It was] as rural as you can imagine, for one thing I didn't even have electricity and we loved it.

"Some uncle would always drive us there from Manchester in a car. He would drive from Manchester to Holyhead and this is true, when we got to the ferry, they used to put all the children on the floor and cover us up with a blanket, just so we didn't have to pay. Our summers seemed endless there."

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds play Malahide Castle on June 16. Tickets priced €49.90, including booking fee

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