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LIVE REVIEW: BLUR, Perth – 30 July, 2015

| 6 August 2015 | 1 Reply

LIVE REVIEW: BLUR, Perth – 30 July, 2015
BLUR with Jamie T, Perth Arena, Western Australia – Thursday 30 July, 2015
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
Photography by Stuart McKay

As one of the leading lights of Britpop Blur have very little left to prove, and their effortlessly confident Perth show proved that from the very start.

Looking more like university students in jeans and t-shirts for the most part, they amble about on stage as if this was a run-through for a gig in front of their English Lit mates at the student union, with only the arena-sized lights that strafed the crowd giving a hint that there were bigger stakes in play.

Blur LIVE in Perth 30 July 2015 by Stuart McKay  (15)

This affability and stubborn desire to do it their way is what endeared us all to them in the first place though, and despite some seemingly haphazard pacing issues deflating the room’s energy a couple of times, the four-piece delivered a pretty great set.

Comprised of most of the hits (Country House was unsurprisingly absent, given their distaste for the song) and plenty of deeper cuts, as well as new tunes, the set list was a die-hard fan’s dream, even though things subdued now and then during the less well-known tracks.

Leading off with the lesser-known Go Out, singer Damon Albarn wastes no time before jumping into the crowd during There’s No Other Way, and the multitude of hands clutching at him testify to the band’s ongoing popularity almost 25 years after their debut album, Leisure, which featured that track.

“It’s been a generation or two since we were last here,” says Albarn, not mentioning the 2014 Big Day Out which the band pulled out of at the eleventh hour, though he’s far from impressed with the “rubbish weather” on this wet night, quipping, “we came here for a holiday!”

Coffee & TV is sung by returned guitarist Graham Coxon, who playfully sends peals of feedback through the crowd so often throughout the show that he may just have been apprenticing to Sonic Youth.

Musically the band are augmented as required by four backing singers, a four-piece horn section, a keyboard player and master-percussionist Tito Puente, last seen in town with Albarn’s multi-media extravaganza Gorillaz. The sound is majestic throughout, whether it be just the four of them or the full ensemble.

Three huge Feng Shui Bagua mirrors provide the stage backdrop – possibly a by-product of latest album Magic Whip being recorded in Hong Kong – each sporting a disco ball sending shards of incandescent light dancing over the crowd during a few songs.

Through Out Of Time, Beetlebaum and Thought I Was A Spaceman bassist Alex James flops around casually, just like his hair (which hasn’t seemed to change over the past three decades), and drummer Dave Rowntree keeps a relentless beat, even when being doused with water by Albarn, who on other occasions blocked or tackled the long-suffering roadies, and knocked James to the ground during Trouble In the Message Centre.

Albarn goes walkabout through the Arena for as far as his microphone cord will allow during Trimm Traub, granting high fives and photo ops without missing a word, further reinforcing the louche, uni-student-band analogy, but when they play a stunning Tender, the swaying, singing crowd are testament to this being a world class band.

Albarn then invited a gang of cheeky chaps “who look like they’re from 1994” (and almost definitely from Joondalup) onstage for Parklife, the lads reciting Phil Daniels’ sections of the song, chasing Albarn back and forth across the stage and generally chavving it up. It’s a moment so perfect as to send chills up our spine when it happened and again now as I write about it.

Song 2 is a perfect, pogoing, spittle-flecked, everybody-on-their-feet moment, whilst To The End comes atcha like the best Bond theme that never was, before the set finishes with the similarly cinematic This Is A Low.

The 6500-or so in the crowd had plenty of opportunity to cry out for more, eventually bringing the band back for the much-loved Stereotypes and Girls and Boys – another perfect moment – before For Tomorrow brought things down a notch. A transcendent The Universal finished the show on another unbeatable moment, signalling the end of a really, really, really good night.

Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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  1. Jacqui Allison says:

    Photography is spectacular. Keep that man on 🙂

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