Gareth Cattermole, Getty So maybe Gorillaz and Blur aren't finished after…
- Posted on Oct 17th 2010 10:00AM by Garin Pirnia
Bill McCay, WireImage.com / Getty Images
In support of their third album, 'Plastic Beach,' the world's most successful virtual band took human form with frontman Damon Albarn leading the pack. Eschewing the seafaring captain attire of the rest of his bandmates, Albarn joined the Clash's Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, a nautically dressed strings section, soulful backup singers and his animated alter egos Murdoc, Noodle, 2D and Russel onstage.
The band opened with a Gershwin-inspired instrumental intro as big, blocked letters spelling out "Gorillaz" flanked the stage and glowed with a blazing red color. The running gag became the CGI images of the cartoon band trapped in a room, thus, not being able to make the performance, but rest assured they were there in spirit. 'Welcome to the Plastic Beach' followed with the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble playing a tuba and trombones and Snoop Dogg rapping his part through one of the many music videos screened throughout the night. At times the ADD projected images of animated characters, zombies and destruction distracted from what was going on in reality, but the rotating cast of guest appearances also enhanced the extremely ambitious show.
Bobby Womack popped up during 'Stylo' (featuring an onscreen Bruce Willis cameo) and 'Demon Days,' but stole the spotlight on his affecting 'Cloud of Unknowing' solo. Rosie Wilson dueted with Albarn on '19/2000' and 'DARE,' and rappers Kano and Bootie Brown appeared on a handful of songs. Akin to a variety show, not knowing who'd make an appearance when was part of the mystery, so when hip-hoppers De La Soul were recruited on the raucous 'Feel Good Inc.,' the crowd went wild for their hearty laugh portion featured at the beginning of the song. On 'White Flag,' the American Syrian Orchestra teamed up with Kano. While images of belly dancers flickered onscreen, an audience member struggled to wave a huge, white flag Albarn had given him. It wasn't until the end of the song when Albarn grabbed the flag back, unwound it and properly brandished it.
Even though most of the set drew from 'Plastic Beach' and 'Demon Days,' Albarn and company managed to perform a few from their self-titled debut. Drenched in sweat from jogging around the stage for over an hour, Albarn closed out the regular set with 'Plastic Beach.' He jumped into the crowd, then landed back on stage where he stood atop a speaker and encouraged the crowd to throw their hands in the air. Gorillaz came back for a six-song encore including staples 'Clint Eastwood, 'Don't Get Lost in Heaven' and 'Demon Days' that concluded the evening with a lasting still of the virtual band preserved in stained glass.