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Concert Reviews:
Noel Gallagher, Ryan Adams deliver diverse, complementary sets at Meadow Brook
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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ROCHESTER HILLS -- Noel Gallagher and Ryan Adams hail from opposite sides of the pond and different sides of the musical coin.

The former is one of the kings of Britpop, through Oasis and, for the past five years, his solo work. Adams, meanwhile is one of Americana's guiding lights, an icon via the band Whiskeytown and a dizzyingly varied solo output of his own. And on Tuesday night, July 12, at the Meadow Brook Amphitheatre that made them more complementary than competitive, and diverse enough to deliver a rewarding evening for a small but exuberant crowd that found plenty to embrace from both singer-songwriters.

Each artist may have reputations for mercurial temperaments and iconoclastic creative leanings, but on Tuesday they were each in good humor and in good form during their respective 70-minute sets. Gallagher was dry-witted and self-deprecating, while Adams allowed himself a couple of spirited and even comic explosions -- one to insure the safety of a spider that had crawled up a band members' microphone, the other to respond to a heckler towards the front of the pavilion, though rather than lash out Adams neutralized the situation by announcing that, "I hear you and I love you anyway,and I'm gonna play my ass off, anyway."

And that Adams did, with wide-ranging and often fiery 13-song set in front of a stage dressed with giant amplifiers, vintage video games, a Dr. Pepper vending machine, a stuffed tiger and other accotrema. Adams, whose long bangs often obscured his eyes, and company scored early with "Trouble," "Give Me Something Good" and "New York, New York" before down-shifting into the hypnotically melodic "When the Stars Go Blue." The troupe let its metallic side show on a pulverizing "Halloweenhead" that morphed into Black Sabbath's self-titled theme song, while the closing couplet of "Magnolia Mountain" and the trippy "Peaceful Valley" gave the troupe room to explore some extended atmospherics and textures.

Gallagher and his High Flying Birds, by comparison, played on a stripped-down stage set and 15 mostly punchy, economical songs brimming with hooks as well as melodic sophistication. Ferocious renderings of "Everybody`s on the Run," "Riverman," "You Know We Can't Go Back," "Ballad of the Mighty I," "The Mexican" and "AKA...What A Life!" certainly showed that Gallagher's had plenty to offer post-Oasis, despite that band's formidable shadow. And Gallagher, abetted on several songs by a three-piece horn section that included Detroiters John Rutherford on trombone and Walter White on trumpet, also did a nice job of digging deep into Oasis' catalog with familiar but less-celebrated material like "Half the World Away" and the thrashing "Digsy's Dinner."

But there's no denying the Oasis hits drew the biggest response -- especially the nicely timed "Champagne Supernova," which came just as Tuesday night's rains hit Meadow Brook, blowing sideways into the pavilion to the point that the band even felt it onstage. "That's a bit (messed) up, isn't it?" Gallagher quipped "It rains every...day in England, but not like that." The shower didn't dampen the crowd's enthusiasm, however, and the likes of "The Masterplan," a subtly rephrased "Wonderwall" and the majestic "Don't Look Back in Anger" sent everyone home a bit wet but fully satisfied by as sharp and solid a pair of performances as you could ask for.



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