Blur kicked off the Hyde Park gig as the Blur branded curtains unfolded to reveal the band, “Are you ready” shouts Damon, then the music begins.
Girls and Boys
It wouldn’t be a Blur gig these days if they didn’t start with Parklife smash ‘Girls and Boys’, the crowd once again singing ever single word, joining in to the oh ohs, parts of you has to feel reminiscent about the legendary 2009 Hyde Park gigs. Although the crowd were singing even more than ever before, bye bye to the terrible sound of the Brits and hello to the return of the true brilliance of live Blur.
“This is called London Loves, and we love London” Damon shouts to the London Olympic crowd. Although patriotic or not, the sound wasn’t that good at the start, but grow on abit towards the end, but hey always nice to hear Blur perform a song they rarely do, again sticking to Parklife album. And what better way to end the Olympic Games with Damon shouting “Yeahh”!
Sticking still to Parklife, Tracy Jacks. Never been one of my favourites from Parklife, but Blur always deliver when performing, and who can’t love the line “I’d love to stay here and be normal, but thats just so overrated”! Graham shouting “Tracy Jacks”, Damon pumping the vocals, Dave hitting those drums and Alex bass doing its stuff, by now its became apparent to everyone that this will be one of those gigs, even if Damon did come in to soon, oops!
And now to the rock song of Parklife, Jubilee, a song if I might add was missing at the Queens diamond. Jubilee rocks out just as well as it always does, this really is right up there with their 2009 gigs, you have to give them kudos for following that.
Wow, we’ve left Parklife album for a while now, and what a classic to go to, Blur’s 1997 number 1, Beetlebum. Beginning with Grahams signature rift, this song is just such a anthem now! I don’t know if it was just how special the event was or the possibility of this been Blurs last big gig, but Beetlebum actually sounded better than when performed at Hyde Park in 2009 and Glastonbury, Blur really are back on true form, just incredible. And who can forget that incredible guitar finish at the end.
Coffee and TV
Now the main mic gets pulled over to the always shy but definitely talented Mr Graham Coxon, which can mean only one thing, “This is called Coffee and TV”, he says nervously as usual. Not Grahams best performance of Coffee and TV, but definitely a good one, I mean its just such a nice song, “take me away from this big bad world and agree to marry me”. The ending couldn’t of gone better with the crowd just singing along like its been a national anthem, brilliant
Out Of Time (Featuring Khyam Allami)
I don’t know what it is, but I always feel awkward when Graham performs Think Tank songs, well sadly its only Out Of Time they do perform from Think Tank, kinda wished they’d of done more, but yeah. For this performance Damon brought in someone from his Arabic music projects to play, kinda fitting as there country wasn’t able to be at the Olympics. Either way a brilliant unique performance definitely, of the slow ballad from Think Tank.
Young and Lovely
A song that had been showing up around the recent Blur gigs has been the b-side from Chemical World single, Young and Lovely. For many this will be the first time hearing this song live, but it was actually performed on a special b-sides show which were given away through the ‘Fan Club’ singles, either way a beautiful version of the song with a more acoustic feel to the start. Damon said its a funny song how it was originally about their parents connection with them and now its turned back on them and is about their children and them, wow how the years have gone by, an extra .5 for the years.
Now the mode turns to 13, with the fan favourite Trimm Trabb, which I don’t about you, just didn’t have everything in this performance, just lacked in something I don’t know what, whether its Damon failed note or the quieter guitar in the outro, it just didn’t have it for me, and the over unrequited echoing annoyed me bait.
A song that had never been performed live since the BBC gig, it was so refreshing to finally see live in a big venue and thats the beautiful song Caramel, even if Damon got the first line wrong, no one really noticed it was just so beautiful, definitely one of the absolute best songs from 13, and one of the highlight performances definitely from this gig. The ending definitely has more unff to it thanks to a trumpet sound at the end, either way a great end to an awesome song.
“What day is it?” shouts Damon, well obviously its Sunday and what more fitting song to include than Sunday Sunday, and then in comes Daves roaring drums and here comes Sunday Sunday, the anthem of the pure British from Modern Life Is Rubbish at a time when Parklife was still a pipe dream. Featuring Damons usual over the top running in the sped up middle 8, then finished off perfectly with a crowd chanting chorus.
“How are feeling so far?”, I think its far to say everyone just rocking out Damon. Then comes Blur controversial number 1, Country House, which according to sources was very close to Liam performing Wonderwall at the ceremony, oh the irony is still here years on, but hey as Noel said, thats all over now.
Parklife (Featuring Phil Daniels)
Now the madness has truly begun, its only gonna get madder, this is a Blur gig after all! Out comes Phil Daniels with his “OI!!!”, and yep here’s Parklife! The crowd shouting “Parklife” at the top of their voice, the atmosphere is just electric, just the classic madness of a Blur gig! How can you not rate this just incredible, the atmospheres mad, the performance is mad and fun, this is Blur at there best! And whats this, a tea lady?
Colin Zeal (Featuring Harry Enfield)
Yep, its “Mrs Enfield” none the less, yep just when you thought the fun was all over with Phil, in comes the one and only Harry Enfield, “what a lovely boy you are” it squeals in a comedic womens voice, I mean look at the pic! Apparently a tea lady has something to do with Colin Zeal? Either way a great performance of Colin Zeal, a classic rock song from Modern Life Is Rubbish, with an unexpected tea lady, what more do you want, just madness, and thats why we love it, Harry even joined in at the end!
Graham distorts his guitar and boom, out comes the their first real Britpop single, none other than Popscene, the only word truly given to what Blur gave to the 90s!
Was it only me that missed the “food processors are great” on this, probably, either way, in comes the rocky intro that is Advert. Either way the song goes there and rocks hard, but definitely not the best live.
Damon kicks off with an Olympic speech, he loves the lack of adverts on BBC, ironic after performing a song titled Advert, and respect for Mo Farrah! And now comes a true Blur classic, at first we all thought The Puritan was going to be played, but no, Dave plays his signature and out comes Song 2 and the crowd definitely know this one! WAHOO!!!
No Distance Left To Run
“We’re gonna change the mood a bit now”, definitely so, gone is the rocking and popping, now for Blurs most emotional and deep songs, starting with their true sad song, No Distance Left To Run from 13, the crowd singing Tender already, but one song to go yet! No Distance Left To Run, a song about a broken soul, just beautiful even today, as beautiful as its always been, just perfect, tears in my eyes! It may have not had Damons high pitch screams like before, but it was still absolutely perfect and emote, just perfect!
The crowd got what they wanted with the next song, Tender, as the crowd chant Grahams “oh my baby” this gig, from that moment forward, put itself up there with Blurs absolute top gigs! Tender is just lyrically and musically just a beautiful song and really sets the bar high at the start of 13 and live its just even better! Many say 13 was a risk, but songs like Caramel, No Distance Left To Run and especially Tender prove that that risk was one definitely worth taking and one that payed off!
This Is A Low
After Tender has had you saying “Oh My Baby” 90 million times, a natural progression has always been This Is A Low, its the Blur way, as well as always managing to completely smash it perfectly! Damon just never fails to reach those top notes in the chorus, and just what a song it is, a fan favourite from Parklife, right there before ‘To The End’ which sadly didn’t get the cut tonight, but what a song This Is A Low always proves to be, the biggest Blur anthem hidden right there on Parklife. Damon quite possibly made it there best performance of this as well, which just adds to the awesomeness of this gig!
==BREAK THEN ENCORE==
Incredible to hear this song live again, one of our all time favourites from Blur’s debut album Leisure, last time this was publicly played live was back in 1999, such an incredible song, and if its possible Alex’s bass rift sounds even better than ever before, just an incredible Blur anthem.
Under The Westway
Damon has always said this song was written for this exact moment, he even changed the lyrics “said rain would come on Monday” to reflect the forecasted weather of the previous day, its far to say Under The Westway and the Hyde Park Olympic Closing Ceremony were meant for each other, the crowd even joined in for “today” on the start line, just beautiful. Grahams guitar backdrops seemed to fit better than ever before, the backing vocals clearer than ever, the song just ticked, right in the place it was intended for, just perfect!
Something that was less than perfect was Damons piano playing on the hidden gem on Chemical World on Modern Life Is Rubbish, the instrumental Intermission, quite a few shaky mistakes there at the start, but it got there towards the end, 1 extra for recovery, and the awesome additions.
End Of A Century
I never liked End Of A Century as a single, I always used to skip it on Parklife, and I probably will on ParkLife too, dunno, the song just doesn’t do it for me. But in all a good performance.
If there ever was a companion song to Under The Westway it has to be For Tomorrow, I mean the song even mentions the westway! Just like in 2009, the song springs in to live with woodwind instruments, Damons powerful London inspired lyrics and catchy ending, and people have the nerve to ask why Blur was asked to headline this gig!
When the beginning sounds of The Universal, everyone knows its the last song, that probably was the reason for the applause at its start, if you ignore the British Gas adverts, this really is an incredible song from Blur, ironically only the second song played from The Great Escape, but The Universal is a band favourite and a fan favourite almost guaranteed in every Blur gig, and its such a beautiful song too, and you can’t help feel the emotion at the end of the song, Damon shouts “Thank you”, and thats when that emotion comes in. The crowd even sang the chorus themselves afterwards, just the most powerful thing ever at a gig, just perfection itself, and Alex had his doubts about the gig, you past the test of time guys, brilliant!
Many said in 2009 that that Hyde Park would be Blurs best of their career, but on Sunday they most definitely proved they have most definitely still got it in them, this is one of those gigs you’ll remember forever, just like the Olympics itself! You don’t need to even care about the Olympics to know this was an incredible gig!
Available to download on iTunes here! DVD coming in November