Manchester is on a roll. Manchester City is the best football team in Europe, and probably the planet. In addition to sport, music plays a central role in Manchester’s vibrant recovery. On a recent weekend, fans sang along at separate stadium gigs from Coldplay and Arctic Monkeys. Sir Elton John had an arena farewell on. Cover Me fans might have been at Scary Pockets‘ triumphant first visit to the city. Next year, a concert venue with input from Bruce Springsteen and Harry Styles aims to be the best venue in the UK for acoustics and attendee experience. Manchester icon, and City Fan, Noel Gallagher’s visit to The Radio 2 Piano Room to pay homage to one of the city’s most treasured songs had potential, at least.
Joy Division‘s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” comes from a different phase in Manchester’s history, before its current renaissance. The song has been extensively covered over the years, and it has been demonstrated that there are many successful routes to augmenting its legacy. You can to the sense of doom, or record a stark version putting the lyrics right at the center. You can be Björk. Recently, the Hot 8 Brass Band brought their version, one of our Best of 2018, back to its home. It was raucous, redemptive, and cathartic. A fitting tribute to fallen band members.
For their version Gallagher and his “High Flying Birds” attempt an airier, upbeat tone. To accommodate the lush strings and backing vocals of the BBC Concert Orchestra, the unsettling keyboard part is softened noticeably. The lyrics get a more cursory reading than is usually necessary, as Noel concentrates on a move from his recent higher register closer to that of Ian Curtis.