Well, that was unexpected.
Most Blur fans knew what to expect from Damon Albarn’s show tonight at Royale in Boston: Some Gorillaz, maybe the a cut or two from the Good The Bad And The Queen, a heavy helping of tunes from his recent debut solo record, Everyday Robots, and a very slim serving of Blur classics. That last part held true, and even crueler for Boston; there was no “This Is A Low,” which not only made it onto recent stateside sets, but also onto The Tonight Show.
Instead, we got “Out Of Time,” from 2003’s Think Tank, roughly 45 seconds of 1993’s “Intermission” — played spontaneously when a roadie couldn’t locate Albarn’s melodica for Gorillaz’s “Tomorrow Comes Today” — and perhaps least expected of all, “Song 2.”
Perhaps Albarn knew us Bostonians would be into that. It’s almost like when James plays “Laid” at the Paradise (the college kids, they sure do know that one). And it was apparently the first time Albarn has ever performed Blur’s biggest stateside hit without his former band.
Other standouts tonight included Gorillaz’ increasingly-eerie “Kids With Guns,” and the personal ballad “You And Me,” off Albarn’s solo record. Despite that Albarn’s overall down tempo, the show tonight was a firecracker, harkening back to the fiery Blur shows of the early-’90s. And even the biggest Fila-jacket-wearing hater of “Song 2” had to admit it was a fitting ending to an energetic, 90-plus-minute set that saw Albarn in fine, engaging form. Don’t take our word for it — watch the video below.
Also we’re told Albarn’s band spent about 45 minutes at soundcheck this afternoon learning the song. So if it sounds a bit chippy, don’t go out and get your head checked.
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And tonight’s setlist, courtesy of Bilvox Neidlinger of Strangeways; minus “This Is A Low,” of course.