Published Nov 08, 2011(What's the Story) Morning Glory? was the apotheosis of Britpop. In the months leading up to the album's release and for more than two years after it, its singles were everywhere. The record became so popular that a cereal company started giving it away in exchange for a proof of purchase.
But that was in 1995. Do you know what else was wildly popular that year? A self-titled record by Robson & Jerome and Hootie & the Blowfish's Cracked Rear View. You've never heard of the former -- don't lie -- and no one associated with the latter is ever going to play a two-night stand at Massey Hall.
On the other hand, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds filled the venue on the strength of... what, exactly? The songwriter's solo debut is a convivial, entirely safe effort that often outshines Oasis's late-period work, which isn't necessarily a ringing endorsement. In fact, given its MOR-leanings, it's more of an excuse to go on tour than a fresh shot at cereal giveaways. So nostalgia it was.
Bookending and peppering the set with Oasis cuts, Noel and his crack five-piece took the path of least resistance to bro-hugs and high-fives. Nevertheless, a handful of old standbys were judiciously tweaked and outfitted with newish arrangements.
Heavily indebted to Ryan Adams's rendition, "Wonderwall" has become a gorgeous cover of a cover of an original, and it still induces goosebumps. Similarly, a stripped-down "Supersonic" -- acoustic and restrained -- and an electrified and quickened "Talk Tonight," um, soared. Conversely, "Little by Little" and closer "Don't Look Back in Anger" staidly recreated their on-disc counterparts.
Of the new material, "Everybody's on the Run" scored by giving the singer a chance to stretch out his vocals atop a driving kick drum. Mid-tempo stomper "(I Wanna Live in a Dream in My) Record Machine" and a dialed-down version of single "The Death of You and Me" were amiable if unremarkable, and only "The Good Rebel" would have truly benefitted from Liam's shit-eating wail.
An occasionally stirring, often familiar and mostly predictable show from a band like Beady Eye would suffice. From the guy that wrote "Wonderwall," it was a disappointment -- and that's meant as a roundabout compliment.