Review: Sheffielders enjoy perfect Friday night with Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds at Rock N Roll Circus

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds are one of three headliners at the Rock N Roll Circus at Don Valley Bowl.
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Though we may be based on opposite sides of the Pennines, there is far more that unites Sheffielders and Mancunians than divides us.

Both northern cities are home to two giant, beloved, and rival, football teams. 

Noel Gallagher performing at the Rock N Roll Circus at Don Valley Bowl last night (Friday, September 1, 2023)Noel Gallagher performing at the Rock N Roll Circus at Don Valley Bowl last night (Friday, September 1, 2023)
Noel Gallagher performing at the Rock N Roll Circus at Don Valley Bowl last night (Friday, September 1, 2023)
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Both continue to spawn musical acts that are among the finest of their generation.

And while Sheffield's summer may have belonged to Pulp and Arctic Monkeys, after both enjoyed triumphant homecoming performances at Utilita Arena and Hillsborough Park, respectively; Autumn (yes, meteorologically speaking, Autumn is already upon us) is off to a great start, thanks to two iconic Manchester acts - Happy Mondays and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds - both of whom took the stage last night (Friday, September 1, 2023), on the first day of the Rock N Roll Circus at Don Valley Bowl.

Happy Mondays warm up the crowdHappy Mondays warm up the crowd
Happy Mondays warm up the crowd

Happy Mondays were spectacularly good at warming up the crowd, playing banger after banger, such as 24 Hour Party People, Step On and my personal favourite, the Paul Oakenfold and Andrew Wetherall remix of Hallelujah.

It felt almost surreal to be able to finish work, and make the short journey out to Attercliffe to find a fantastic festival already in full swing, with entertainers swinging flaming batons and colourful festival banners blowing in the September sunshine. The only downside to the fine weather was that the number of Noel Gallagher fans who donned their Oasis-era parka coats didn't get a chance to put them to good use.

Festival-goers enjoy the night Festival-goers enjoy the night
Festival-goers enjoy the night
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Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds came on to anthemic Pretty Boy, which was released earlier this year; before playing the band's equally idiosyncratic, Council Skies.

Other highlights included We're Going to Get There In The End and If I Had A Gun, performed as die-hard fans, many of whom had donned bucket hats for the occasion, sung along with every word as people aloft on the shoulders of others danced euphorically.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds came on to anthemic Pretty Boy, which was released earlier this year; before playing the band's equally idiosyncratic, Council SkiesNoel Gallagher's High Flying Birds came on to anthemic Pretty Boy, which was released earlier this year; before playing the band's equally idiosyncratic, Council Skies
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds came on to anthemic Pretty Boy, which was released earlier this year; before playing the band's equally idiosyncratic, Council Skies

The band sounded great, Noel's voice has never been better; and as expected, he was a great showman.

One particularly funny moment came when he started talking to a little boy standing on his dad's shoulders, and he asked him if he knew what swearing was 'because you're going to hear a lot of that'.

The crowd for Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds sing alongThe crowd for Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds sing along
The crowd for Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds sing along
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But it was when the band moved into Oasis songs on the second half of their set, that the crowd's voices, and the atmosphere, really soared.

Starting with Going Nowhere, the mood continued to rise as they moved into The Importance of Being Idle; and it went into the stratosphere as they played The Masterplan, Half the World Away and Little by Little.

The band went off then, before returning to a crowd-pleasing encore, consisting of Bob Dylan cover, Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn), Live Forever and finishing with Don't Look Back in Anger, for which Noel didn't need to sing a note, because fans having the time of their lives sung it for him.

*The Rock N Roll Circus continues at Don Valley Bowl today (Saturday, September 2, 2023) with acts including Sister Wives; Arctic Numpties; Bimini; Natalie Imbruglia; Confidence Man and Sheffield's finest, Self Esteem. Rock N Roll Circus presents Gatecrasher closes the festival tomorrow (Sunday, September 3, 2023) when Ferry Corsten; Sander Van Doorn (Presents Purple Haze); Ilan Bluestone; Marco V and Ruben De Ronde are all set to perform.

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