Blur – Wembley Stadium
Blur deliver a knock-out and monumental performance at Wembley Stadium.
Every band has a list of dream venues they would like to play. Some venues on these lists would be pure fantasy and some may be well within reach. Yet for the indie legends, Blur, Wembley Stadium has been a long time coming. It’s not that the group wouldn’t have been able to perform at the 90,000 capacity venue in the past. Throughout the 90s the band established themselves globally with their infectious ‘brit-pop’ sound. Frontperson Damon Albarn, Guitarist Graham Coxon, Bassist Alex James, and Drummer Dave Rowntree, proved with their music that they have longevity thanks to their eight critically acclaimed past records. It might be the case that they hadn’t played the massive stadium due to how busy the group are, outside of Blur, Damon also fronts the ever-popular and more experimental group, The Gorrillaz, for example. Either way, When Blur finally took to the stage last weekend for their first of two dates headlining the stadium, it was an evening full of triumph, emotion, and back to back hits with even the odd deep cut thrown in.
As the band walked onto the stage to an eruptic applause from the thousands of new and old fans alike, it was clear to see how taken back Albarn was from the sheer size of this important show. After opening with St Charles Square from their forthcoming new album, The Ballad Of Darren which is out next week, Albarn said: “We’ve been waiting for this moment all our lives, it’s lovely to share it with you.” From there, the band proved they’ve never lost that energetic and charismatic spark with their live shows; a mere four songs into their lengthy but well-paced twenty-five track set and Albarn was already up-close with fans at the barrier of the general admission standing area. As the Colchester musician belted out the chorus of Tracy Jacks to a frenzied audience. Throughout the set, there were plenty of Blur classics on display. The band stormed through huge hits such as Beetlebum, Coffee And TV, Song 2, Girls And Boys, and even a personal favourite of mine, Country House.
If you had the boil the actioned packed set down to the most special moments from the gig, they would undoubtedly come down to the following exhilarating experiences. During the group’s performance of Out Of Time, it was incredible to see the huge venue lit up with phone lights as the London skies were already getting darker. Alongside that, there was a real surge from the crowd when Blur brought out actor Phil Daniels for a rendition of the classic fan-favourite track, Parklife. This song in particular sparked a mass crowd singalong unlike any other, you could almost feel the venue shake from the thousands of fans bouncing to the massive hit. When the band said “we really have a treat for you now, it’s a very London moment”, they meant it. When they performed Tender during the encore they invited the London Community Gospel Choir onto the stage to perform with them. The end result saw the emotive and gorgeous tune Tender elevated to a whole new level.
After the group said their goodbyes after ending the career-spanning set with The Universal, there was a real electric feeling in the air. It felt like every single person in the crowd had just beared witness to something truly special from one of the world’s best bands. Blur at Wembley was a triumph.
Words Cameron Poole
Featured image Phoebe Fox