Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Garbage at Huntington Bank Pavilion in Chicago, IL

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Garbage battled the Canadian wildfire smoke to bring Chicagoans a night filled with music.

Chicagoans awoke to a city filled with smoke from the Canadian wildfires. All across the city, outdoor events were being postponed or cancelled. Attendees of the show kept an eye on their social media all day to see if this show was going ahead. To the joy of some and the shock of others, the show went ahead as scheduled. This is a venue that is known for its amazing venues of the city skyline. But this was not the case here as the smoke caused a haze across the city preventing such a view. 

This co-headlining tour has alternated who goes first and who closes the show each night. First up for Chicago was Garbage. From the moment Shirley Manson walked out onto the ample stage, she owned it. She made full use of the space as she paced around in circles and from one side of the stage to the other, all the while interacting with the crowd. At one point, she even called out an audience member at the front, telling them that she didn’t know them but loved them and their energy and that they are welcome at their shows anytime. Her charisma beamed from the stage throughout the performance and came across as every bit the star that she is. 

Their set transported us back to the mid-late nineties as they performed songs such as “Stupid Girl,” “I’m Only Happy When It Rains,” “I Think I’m Paranoid,” “#1 Crush,” and “Supervixen.” These songs have not aged at all and sound just as great as they ever did. While some people decided not to attend the show due to the weather conditions, those who did attend were on their feet, dancing and singing along throughout their set. 

Garbage are no strangers to the Chicago area, having toured with Alanis Morissette and Tears for Fears over the last few years. It’s impressive to see the pull they still have after all of these years. But what is even more impressive is that their lineup is comprised of all of their original members – Shirley Manson (vocals), Butch Vig (drums), Duke Erikson (guitar, bass, and keyboards), and Steve Marker (guitar and keyboards).

As their set came to a close, Manson apologized for having to cut the set shorter than expected due to the fact that she has asthma and COPD, and singing in those smoky conditions was not great for her. Despite this, her voice sounded as strong and impressive as ever. But in true British fashion, the show must go on, and it certainly did. The audience was not left with the feeling that anything was missing from this performance. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Next up, it was time for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. In contrast to the sparse setup for Garbage, the stage was decorated with floral arrangements which surrounded the individual areas for each of the band members. The lights dimmed, smoke machines were pumping out more smoke (not that it was necessary), and a spotlight shone on a cardboard cutout of Man City’s manager, Pep Guardiola, with a blue and white scarf draped around its neck. The main man’s favorite football team’s logo was also illuminated next to the drum kit. 

Without further ado, Noel Gallagher swaggered onto the stage in a way only he can, joined by his impressive ensemble of 9 bandmates. Gallagher was his usual stoic self, not moving too much from his spot, but instead letting the music do the talking. The large screen behind the band provided all the movement instead. 

The first half of the set comprised of songs mainly from their release Council Skies which just came out at the beginning of June. This included the title track, “Pretty Boy,” “We’re Gonna Get There in the End,” and “Easy Now.” While this new material has only been out for a short length of time and is relatively new, the audience was still captivated by the performance. The second half of the set concentrated on songs from Noel’s days with Oasis and turned into one giant singalong with full crowd participation. These songs included “The Masterplan,” “Half The World Away,” “Little By Little,” and “Live Forever” before rounding out the evening with “Don’t Look Back in Anger.”

Despite all of the smoke in the air, Gallagher’s voice was sounding on top form. For those who had never had the privilege of seeing him live before and had been eager for this night to finally happen, they were not disappointed at all. In fact, they’re already counting the days until they can get their next fix. 

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About Kirstine Walton 383 Articles
Kirstine moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, and has fallen in love with the city and its music scene. She enjoys combining her two biggest passions – music and photography. If there is a band with a guitar playing, chances are she’ll be there…camera in hand. Kirstine went to her first live concert at 7 years old, and hasn’t looked back since!