Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Carpets - Replicating Oasis MTV Unplugged for one night only

By Hayden Moore

For many teenagers growing up in the 1990s, the major scene everybody was into was the rave one.

That was until Britpop came about in the middle of the decade, spawning a wave of new indie bands and causing a massive culture shift – with a little band called Oasis at the forefront of the movement riding the wave.

LIFE Derek McCabe Noel Gallagher 3 compressor

Derek McCabe fronts Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Carpets

Among those caught up in that wave was Scottish teenager Derek McCabe who left behind his love of rave for Oasis instead or, more particularly, for Noel Gallagher after his performance on MTV Unplugged in 1996.

Now 37, Derek fronts the Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Carpets tribute band that will be playing a string of Irish gigs in a few weeks that culminate in The Civic Theatre on September 28.

“For me personally, the first time I had ever seen that whole scene – the style of music – or Oasis was on MTV Unplugged,” Derek explained.

“I remember watching it just totally transfixed and asking my friend who this guy was, Noel, and him telling me that he’s not even the singer in the band.”

Just as Oasis were set to perform their highly coveted MTV Unplugged set in front of a sold-out Royal Festival Hall in London, Liam, who typically sung, pulled out claiming he had a sore throat.

And so the Noel Gallagher solo-act born as he entered the stage to tell the crowd that “Liam isn’t gonna be with us tonight cause he’s got sore throat” – only for him to be spotted in a booth heckling his older brother as he stood on stage performing their songs alone.

This exact moment caught the attention of 14-year-old McCabe, as it did for millions of others, kickstarting his inherent love of the older Gallagher and the guitar.

LIFE Derek McCabe Noel Gallagher 1 compressor

“It’s genuinely the exact reason why I picked up the guitar,” he said.

“See in school I hadn’t chosen music by the time I wanted to play the guitar; it was too late I had already picked my subjects.

“But I knew my cousin played the guitar, so I went over to him and asked ‘what’s this Wonderwall thing?’.

After doing his own Noel Gallagher tribute when he was 18 years old in the pubs of his local town of Bathgate, he supported an Oasis tribute act in 2013 – in which they asked him to be their Noel.

Following the release of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ second album, ‘Chasing Yesterday’ in 2015, Derek decided to separate from the Oasis tribute and start his own band called Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Carpets.

“It was always the idea to eventually do the MTV Unplugged show because that’s the big one,” he explained.

“For Oasis fans the big one would be replicating their performance in front of 250,000 people at Knebworth, but for Noel Gallagher fans it’s MTV Unplugged – that’s the pinnacle moment.”

An aficionado of all things Noel Gallagher, he will even be including the two songs that never made the TV cut of MTV Unplugged – Whatever and Listen Up.

On the night in The Civic, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Carpets will be accurately replicating that MTV Unplugged set as it was originally performed while also performing some of the back catalogue of classic hits.

Tickets to the show on September 28 at 8pm cost €22/20 from www.civictheatre.ie or from their in-house box-office.

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