Aside from me being such a free-thinker, I think the reason for my relative indifference is I was too young to get fully caught in the wave of Brit Pop world domination. I'd heard a few Oasis songs but hadn't really got all the shit the went with it. Rather than Oasis vs. Blur, I got the much milder The Cribs vs. The Pigeon Detectives.
Had I properly been there at the time, I would have thought that the Gallagher brothers were twats and would probably write them off immediately. However, by the time I came to this realisation I kind of already liked their hits, forcing me to appreciate Noel Gallagher as a songwriter but maybe not as a person.
I didn't anticipate the amount of Oasis songs Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds would play during his headline set at Electric Fields. With three albums of their own, they easily could have thrown in 'Don't Look Back In Anger' and be done with the Oasis stuff, however, Noel knew what the crowd wanted. I never thought I'd compliment a Gallagher brother for not having a big head but it was nice to see Noel Gallagher put his audience before his ego.
That's not to say his High Flying Birds stuff pales in comparison. The pounding rhythm of 'A.K.A. What A Life' was exhilerating, 'Holy Mountain' is a great piece of bombastic fun and 'In The Heat of the Moment''s chorus is just fucking huge. So huge, in fact, that the drummer tried to emphasise it with what would have been a sweet drumstick toss... had he caught it. He recovered very well and almost got away with it but I saw it and I found it very funny.
The set just displayed how prolific a songwriter Noel is with a brilliant, extensive band including keys and brass making each song sound as rich as they could be.
When Noel played Oasis songs, however, he played them at slightly different tempos which kind of displayed the magician's assistant's legs in the box before she even got in. He sticks to very similar chords and patterns so when he played 'Whatever', I thought it was 'Wonderwall'; when he played 'Half The World Away', I thought it was 'She's Electric'. Still, it was great getting the chance to hear these huge Brit Pop anthems live.
A nice touch was that Oasis' long term guitarist Gem Archer was also up there with Noel. An even nicer touch was that Gem Archer looked like he's in the middle of morphing from a mid-2000s Noel Gallagher into a mid-2000s Paul Weller. Another fun doppelganger was a guy in a parka standing close to us who was the spitting image of a pissed off Liam Gallagher. We created the narrative that he was the real thing, spitefully watching as his estranged brother killed it onstage. My friend pointed out that he saw him singing along, realised he was being watched and immediately stopped, adding the detail that he actually quite likes the High Flying Birds but doesn't want anyone to know. Poor guy. No one wants to be caught having a good time.
On a hangover, I'll tend to watch videos that make me feel better about the world: deaf people hearing for the first time, soldiers coming home and surprising their kids, you get the idea. One of the staple categories are big singalong, normally at music festivals. Before the show, I was very much looking forward to 'Don't Look Back In Anger' for that exact reason.
Noel clearly appreciated this as well as he dropped out during the choruses of the Oasis songs and just letting the crowd belt it out.
I wasn't hungover but there's still something almost transcendental about singing these choruses that everyone knows at the top of your lungs among hundreds of strangers. Something unifying about Oasis lovers, haters and wildcards like myself coming together to scream that Sally can't wait.