Don’t even know where to begin with Gorillaz.
As if seeing Damon Albarn (and his burgundy underwear), Paul Simonon and Mick Jones from The Clash, soulster Bobby Womack, Pharcyde’s Bootie, De La Soul, UK rappers Bashy and Kano, the Syrian Orchestra Ensemble, Little Dragon, a seven-piece horn section, four back-up singers, a row of chicks on strings, erstwhile Liam Gallagher guitarist Jeff Wooton plus two drummers (including Cass Browne who writes all the Gorillaz comic alterego words) on stage at various points doesn’t scream “HOLYSHITTHISISSERIOUSLYAWESOME!”, I don’t know what would.
Add to it an enormo lit “Gorillaz” sign, lights in all directions, on-screen vignettes featuring the “original” band, all computer-animated and complaining about “the opening act” (ie, the actual band below), character Murdoc drag racing with Bruce Willis, a fiery pirate ship, bits with Noodle, 2D and Russel, cheeky Jamie “Tank Girl” Hewlett illustrations (a fave being the they-seem-alive choir of cartoon kids), as well as duets with giant images of Snoop Dogg for “Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach” and Shaun Ryder for “Dare”….and you’ve got yourself a Top 5 gig of the year.
Gorillaz were that good.
Wasn’t expecting them to be. Was expecting end-of-tour exhaustion, an arsey or blasé Damon Albarn, a lack of connection in a giant arena, and more style than substance. Shame on me. I’m a big fat burnt-out gig-reviewin’ cynic. And hooo-ha was I glad that I was wrong.
Instead, fans were treated to a jubilant and chatty Albarn, who was clearly pleased and humbled by this achievement, bounding about, running around the stadium with a white flag (for, errr “White Flag”). There were hugs, gracious introductions, laughter, half of THE motherfunking CLASH jamming together, a surprise appearance by ACTUAL Jamie Hewlett, who’d come in for this last North American gig, aaaaanndd a clearly tight and grand, theatrical performance.
Sure, there was a lot of the slower stuff off of Plastic Beach, and slightly cheesy “Live! On Broadway!”-y Damon/Little Dragon duets on “To Binge” and “Empire Ants” (Yukimi’s still cool), but “19/2000”, “Dare”, “Feel Good Inc”, “Clint Eastwood” were all multi-coloured explosions of fun as expected.
And to witness Simonon and Jones playing off each other during the psych freakout of “Glitter Freeze”, and be stared down by Albarn during “Rhinestone Eyes” from 10 rows away, well…
Well done, Gorillaz, well done. \m/
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