As the opening regains emanate from the stage, excitement hits fever pitch. The weekend is drawing to a close, the last of the sunshine is fading, and Noel Gallagher is here, making Latitude his own.
It’s rare an artist has such gravitas, but love him or loathe him, there’s no denying Noel Gallagher’s ability to create and captivate. Accompanied by his band - backing brass and woodwind and all - he’s here to live it up as large as he can, and the festival is mad for it.
The introductory chimes of ‘Everybody’s On The Run’ wash through the fields, lyrics flash up in the big screen, and the crowd are in the in the palm of the performer’s hand. Songs old, songs new, and songs everything in between echo across site the main stage holds it’s final performance for the year.
“Thank you for making this so special,” Noel enthuses. “If you could go out of the way to make this next one as special, as the years go by my children will be fucking grateful.” Launching into ‘Dream On’ the band have the arena hook, line, and sinker.
With unshakable charisma, the Mancunian artist takes latitude on a whirlwind ride of scream-your-soul-out classics, and sob-your-heart-out ballads. As one, the crowd sway to every beat and sing to every chorus. Taking a step back from the microphone so the audience can take the lead, the sing-a-long moments are nothing short of magic. Entertaining the festival through eighteen songs isn’t a task easily undertaken, but tonight no questions are asked.
“I’m gonna dedicate the next one to the coolest person at this festival. which is not Nicky Wire,” Noel jokes. “It’s actually my wife - this for you Dave!” The romantic chimes of ‘If I Had A Gun’ kick in, and there’s barely a soul that isn’t moved. Expectedly, it’s the Oasis hits that really electrify the audience. Tonight, renditions of ‘Talk Tonight’ and ‘Half The World Away’ send shivers up many a spine, whilst High Flying Birds hits ‘AKA… What A Life!’ and ‘The Death Of You And Me’ are met with no less elation.
“I don’t play that one much any more,” Noel declares of ‘Talk Tonight’. “Why? Because I’ve got so many fucking great songs, I can’t play the same ones all the time. That said…” The opening chords of ‘Whatever’ are met with spine-tingling screams. “They’re gonna murder this one in the fucking press tomorrow.”
Closing on ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’, Noel shows the Latitude fields why he is one of the most heralded musicians of the age. As he makes his way off the stage - “we’re gonna get absolutely fucking loaded to acid house music” - the singing continues into the night. The spell has been cast, and everyone’s enchanted.
Photo: Sarah-Louise Bennett.
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