July 4, 2009 -
Blur finish Hyde Park residency
in dramatic fashion
Band hail hardcore fans for attending massive sell out show
played the final English gig of their comeback tour last night
(July 3), entertaining 55,000 fans for the second night in a
row at London's Hyde Park.
Frontman Damon Albarn was visibly overwhelmed
at times during the gig, which saw the band play a
career-spanning 25-song set.
Earlier in the day, acts including Florence And The Machine,
Deerhoof and Amadou And Mariam had warmed
up the crowd, who were able to bask in sunshine throughout the
gig (despite forecasts predicting torrential rain).
Vampire Weekend also played, taking to the
stage before Blur to perform a 45-minute set which saw the New
Yorkers debut two brand new songs.
The first unreleased track, 'White Sky', saw
singer Ezra Koenig sing the chorus to the
crowd a capella, before asking them to join in during the track
itself. "We came over here just to play this show,"
Koenig stated before launching into 'M79'.
"This is another new song," he revealed before debuting the
punky track 'Cousins'. "It's two minutes 15
seconds long, roughly. You won't know it but hopefully you'll
remember it by the end."
The biggest cheers for the band came when they played spirited
versions of 'Oxford Comma' and set closer
'Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa', which was preceded
by Koenig showering praise on Blur for inviting
Vampire Weekend to open for them.
As with their other shows on the tour, Blur opened their set with debut single 'She's So
High', firing up the massive crowd who included the
likes of The Last Shadow Puppets' and The Rascals' frontman Miles Kane, model
Agyness Deyn and television personalities
Ant & Dec.
"This is the first gig we put on sale, so thank you!"
Albarn said after playing the track, referencing the
fact that when Blur announced to NME that they were to play together again
last December, tonight's gig was the show they announced.
The band, who were augmented by a keyboard player, backing
singers and trumpet section during the gig then launched into a
pacey version of Britpop classic
'Girls And Boys', following the track with its
'Parklife' cousin and fan-favourite 'Tracy
Jacks'. Gazing over the crowd and into the distance
after the track, Albarn commented that the
audience looked "So beautiful in the sunset".
Mixing their more well known material ('There's No
Other Way', 'Country House',
'To The End') with less ubiquitous tracks like
'Oily Water', 'Death Of A Party' and
'Trimm Trabb', the band's set saw the band in
blistering form throughout.
Albarn also took the time to inform a large
section of the crowd that Scottish tennis star Andy
Murray had been knocked out of Wimbledon
earlier in the day. "Now that Andy Murray
isn't at Wimbledon, I guess we're the official Fred Perry
sponsors," he said, jokingly mocking the designer t-shirts that
have become synonymous with Blur (indeed, both Albarn and drummer
Dave Rowntree were wearing the garb during the
Eager fans towards the front of the crowd had to be restrained
midway through the set, as organisers informed Albarn
that a crush could occur unless they were asked to calm down.
The frontman used a megaphone to address the audience. "No one
must get hurt, so…just enjoy yourselves a little bit more
safely, ok?" he said with a smile.
The band then played one of the softest songs of the night,
'Out Of Time'.
Follow-up track 'Trimm Trabb' saw impassioned
performances from both Albarn and guitarist
Graham Coxon, who ended the song in frenzied
style by falling to his knees and playing the guitar outro in a
pose that recalled Jimi Hendrix.
After playing 'Parklife', which saw actor
Phil Daniels join the band onstage to sing his
vocal parts, Albarn went up the microphone but
seemed lost for words. Gazing into the audience with a big
smile on his face, he paused before simply stating "Thank
you!"and raising both of his arms in the air.
"This is our last gig in London, and England.
It's been amazing. We weren't sure if it was possible, but this
is something else," Albarn said after the band
finished 'Song 2'. The track had seen many
fans cheer and chant the name of drummer Rowntree,
whose beat started the song.
Finishing their set with a euphoric double of 'For
Tomorrow' and 'The Universal',
Albarn paid tribute to the people behind the
scenes who he said had "bullied" Blur into getting back in touch with each other since going
on hiatus after 2003 album 'Think Tank'.
"I just wanna say thank you to everyone who sort of bullied us
and persisted in getting us to do this," he said, adding to the
audience "And thank you too!"
The band then launched into their final song of the night, an
anthemic version of 'The Universal' that saw
arms throughout the crowd raised as the mass audience did their
best to drown out the band by singing along to the song's
As crowds poured out of Hyde Park following
the song, police were forced to quell the rush by stopping
traffic around the site. Among those caught up in the melee
were Australian actor and popstar Jason Donovan,
who was on his push bike outside the park. Despite hundreds of
fans noticing, jeering and crowding around the star, he
declined to acknowledge them.
'She's So High'
'Girls & Boys'
'There's No Other Way'
'Out Of Time'
'Coffee & TV'
'End Of A Century'
'To The End'
'This Is A Low'
'Death Of A Party'