Blur Live Review @ Hyde Park (Knightsbridge) - 02 Jul 2009
It was 1995 when I bought a copy of Blurs fourth album "The Great Escape' on cassette from John Menzies. This was the start of my Britpop adventure and introduced me to such bands as Pulp and Suede. Having always been too young to see Blur live, I was more than excited to hear about their come back concert.
Having to cope with solo albums and novelty hits from the 3 creative members in Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon and Alex James for my Blur kick hasn't really been enough. Though Gorrillaz are brilliant in their own way, and Coxon has proved what a vital songwriter he is out of the shadow of Blur, neither has released anything close to the sound that the 4 members bring together. It's been frustrating seeing bands like the Kaiser Chiefs trying to fill the gap, and hopefully Blur will release another album next year! As the boys are back and ready to take on the world.
After conquering Glastonbury, tonight it was London, a kind of homecoming. With support from Hypnotic Jazz Ensemble, Golden Silvers (replacing Friendly Fires), Crystal Castles and Foals, all were an odd and terrible choice, especially Crystal Castles. Alice Glass was so wrecked she had to be carried on and off the stage, having 'Oasis has Aids' plastered across her t-shirt was the only highlight of their dismal set. Could this have been a cunning plan of Blurs? Anything after that line up would have triumphed.
After the mediocre set from Foals, the sun backed off, the crowds gathered and it was time for the main event. Sadly this was apparently a signal for all the middle-aged yobs to drag themselves away from the bars and proceed to piss off everyone within 20 ft of them, flaying arms and constant elbows. I'd have expected this at an Oasis gig but Blur? After a painstaking 45 minute wait, Blur took to the stage, their first gig in 10 years (except a small dress rehearsal at Glastonbury). With all 4 members beaming they kicked off with 'She's so High'. Damon and Dave forever sponsored by Fred Perry, Graham as fresh faced as ever and a floppy haired Alex looking happy as Larry playing an outdoor gig freely smoking away. They continued their set with a sped up version of ' There's No Other way' and a stand out rendition of 'Badhead' with a full brass section. Playing the exact same processed set as Glastonbury, mixing up the singles with their own favourite album tracks such as 'Oily Water and 'Advert' from 'Modern Life is Rubbish' as well as very random tracks like 'Death at a Party' from 'Blur. Surely albums tracks such as 'Sing' and 'It Could Be You' would have been a preferred choice by fans, having the piano present onstage set up a false pretence as it remained completely untouched.
Damon appeared to be super-wired on stage after hiding behind cartoon characters for the past 5 years. He made it his personal mission to sing to his fans stood right at the front, jumping down from the stage various times in the 2 hour set. Star jumping like a goon throughout 'Sunday Sunday', may have seemed gimpish but after years of a serious African music loving Albarn it was a delight to see. His voice may be strained during the more energetic of tracks, but whilst performing crowd favourites like 'To the End' and 'This is a Low' he was flawless. Only his random babbling about the government prior to a triumphant 'Tender' and how beautiful the moon was (which was behind the stage?) reminded us why Damon is at is best when singing and not his banter.
Leaving the stage to 'This is a low', the crowd enjoyed an accapella rendition of 'Tender' until the boys ran back on to perform lost single ' Popscene' and a drawn out 'Song 2' that sprang the 50,000 into a jumping frenzy. Another break before easing us out slowly with a 'For Tomorrow' and a beautiful ' Universal' left many in tears. Blur were finally back, and
proved their legacy as one of the greatest British bands of al time. No 'Charmless Man', but at least they skipped 'On Your Own' , thank you Blur, after a 14 year wait I can die happy. Just need Pulp to reform now!
- Sun 7th Jul 2013 Eurockéennes de Belfort 2013, Blur, Skunk Anansie, My...Belfort (France)Buy Tickets
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