Blur at British Summertime, Hyde Park, London (Gig Review)
So there was quite a lot going on over the weekend. Fathers Day, Andy Murray winning Queens. Lewis Hamilton not going fastest in his little car. Oh and there was the little matter of British Summertime in Hyde Park where a number of acts played including the likes of Pop Princess Kylie Minogue. Well we didn’t bother with the full event, but we did go and see Brit Pop legends Blur.
Now I have always been a manic fan of Blur, the irreverence of them over the serious Oasis got me. Musically they composed some great tracks, but some of this was lost at the time with the Gallaghers cleverly telling people they had to choose. At the time, everybody wanted a piece of the Manchester scene and Oasis pitched Blur as their Monkees to them being the Beatles. Well a lot of time has passed and Damon Albarn has widely received the acclaim he deserves and perhaps, Blur are more popular and if not as popular now as they were then.
The vibe was slightly different to the last time we saw Phil Daniels of Eastenders fame shout out “This is the las’ time we’re eva gunna do this song live”. At that point over two decades ago, the crowd was made of enthusiastic Fred Perry and Stan Smith or DM donning late teens early twenty somethings. This time the attire was less obligatory and the crowd was somewhat more mixed. However the reaction was the same.
A great touch that the crowd loved was when Damon started handing our ice creams from a random ice cream he had to hand (note to Mrs Ed – see ice cream vans are call) – this was a homage to their new album entitled The Magic Whip and a link to their laddish profile.
Damon Albarn still has all the attributes of a top class entertainer bounding the stage in boundless enthusiasm whilst also casually flitting around in equal measure. He also did his trademark guitar strumming through the slow ones and engaged the crowd with his conversation. He also showed why he never really made it as a TV weather presenter by stating “Thank fuck its stopped raining”.
Blur showed off some of their new material from The Magic Whip and perhaps the best from the new album was Ong Ong a jaunty tilt to their old Brit Pop days, that was warmly received. The great thing about Blur is they feel like an old friend. As man intimate moments with slowed down classics as mad in your face moments that would feel at home in any huge stadium gig.
The crowd however mixed it looked sang-a-long to almost every song that Blur threw at them. The likes of Out of Time, End of a Century and of course Theres No Other Way stormed it. The latter sending chills all over as the crowd drowned out Damon. Albarn essentially stop in admiration for the crowd.
Personally, and this may say more about me than anything else, the highlight was Parklike. It just seemed so fitting that this rendition was taking place in Hyde Park and Phil Daniels is amazing when he knocks out his lines such as “aint about you joggers, that go round, and round and round…”
Blur were superb and they have all the ingredients of an act that could be blasting out these classics in another 20 years time. They have stood the test of time, spanned generations and outlasted their contemporaries. Blur have reunited, not as some gimmick or cash cow, but because they are still great entertainers, great recording artists and in short GREAT!