Thursday, 9 August 2012

GIG REVIEW: Blur - Plymouth Pavilions, 07/08/2012 - plus videos

Over the years I've been to see many great bands and artists in action, but nothing quite like this. It's been over 18 years since my life and musical outlook was forever shaped by these four guys, and now finally after many missed chances I am finally lucky enough to witness the magic of Blur in their live glory. As the sound system's booming dub fades down, the lights dim and Damon, Graham, Alex and Dave make their way on to the stage, launching into an excellent 'Girls And Boys' that instantly shows they're going to be on top form tonight. 

An unexpected but awesome 'London Loves' and a superb 'Tracey Jacks' are followed by an insane 'Jubilee' that elevates me to bounce my way to the front in sheer excitement. 'Beetlebum' is both deliciously dark and beautifully uplifting, 'Out Of Time' benefits greatly from Graham's presense and the delightful 'Young And Lovely' sounds like it could have been a long lost cut from Bowie's 'Hunky Dory', also proving that the band have some truly wonderful B sides in their cannon. 'Trimm Trabb' sounds astonishing, especially when Graham's guitar explodes with devasting power towards the end, while another '13' highlight 'Caramel' seems even more achingly stunning than ever. 'Sunday Sunday''s ideal snapshot of British life plays home to a brilliantly frenzied middle section, and it's hard to imagine anyone here without a smile on their faces during a joyous 'Country House' and a terrifically energetic 'Parklife'. 

The sounds emerging from Graham's guitar are nothing short of incredible, ripping into 'Bugman' with mind blowing power. At one point during 'The Puritan' his instrument sounds like an old engine revving up, before the band launch into a berserk 'Popscene'. 'Advert' is delivered with blistering force, and the whole place erupts for an amazing 'Song 2'. This madness then makes way for the wonderfully delicate 'No Distance Left To Run', a much needed moment for the crowd to catch their breath, before 'Tender' arrives and affirms itself as a most glorious anthem. Damon dedicates 'This Is A Low' to Plymouth and other seaside towns like it, and the band disappear for a while. 

Their re-emergence is greeted by massive cheers, and they conjure up a brilliant rendition of 'Sing', the only track from debut album 'Leisure' given an airing tonight. 'Under The Westway' already sounds like an all-time classic, and is played with perfectly splendid grace before they tear into a mental version of 'Intermission'. After a gorgeous 'End Of A Century', a joyous 'For Tomorrow' sees many hands in the air, inspiring a mass singalong just before 'The Universal' provides an absolutely dazzling climax, bringing tears of joy to my eyes and making for a perfect ending to an unforgettable night. 

A mass of delighted fans pour out of the venue as a number of people gather round the back to possibly catch another glimpse of their heroes, the crowd growing while the tour bus awaits these adored legends. Dave is first to appear and makes his way on to the bus, followed by Damon while Alex puffs on a cigarette by the back door before approaching the assembled crowd. Graham appears and the pair begin signing autographs, shaking hands and having pictures taken with the excited and stunned people gathered here. Then Dave emerges from the bus and Damon also makes his appearance. 

Graham's very pleased with tonight's performance and asks for a light, which my other half Gemma provides him with. It is later decided that this lighter is never to be thrown away, and kept in a special place along with the pen that he signs our CDs with. Alex is utterly charming, Dave dutifully spends a long time meeting as many fans as possible and Damon seems so relaxed as well as gratefully touched when I tell him that he and his band have given me the greatest night of my life. As I shake the same hand that wrote the songs that made me who I am today, it feels like some sort of wild, unbelievable dream. "Please come back soon" I ask. "We will" he says. We can only hope that's a promise.

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