Blur at Madison Square Garden (October 23, 2015)

By Will Oliver, February 27th 2016 — with 2 comments Concert Photos Concert Reviews Listen Stream

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Blur shocked everyone with the quality of their comeback album The Magic Whip was when they released it last summer. We all hoped it would be a quality release, but I don’t know if any of us expected it to be one of the more enjoyable releasing of the entire year. Getting to hear the album played almost in full at their unbelievably intimate performance at Music Hall of Williamsburg surrounded it’s release was one of the best concert moments that I experienced all year, and will be a memory I look back at fondly for the rest of my concert going years.

As expect, the band announced a much bigger show at Madison Square Garden, one of the only two proper shows they played in the U.S. last year, along with a show in Los Angeles. Even though I saw them at the much smaller MHOW, I still went into this show just as excited, as that special feeling was still very much in the air. People love to hate on arena shows, and most of their reasons are completely valid. But if there’s any positive take on an arena show, it’s that with the right moment in time and crowd at hand, there’s this huge, larger than life feeling in the air that you just can’t replicate. This was one of those shows.

Blur came out with a bang, sounding as confident and strong as they did at Music Hall of Williamsburg, only this time fueled by the crazed atmosphere that a sold out Garden crowd naturally brings. Albarn spent the first three songs dousing front row fans and occasionally us photographers (we were warned beforehand), and things almost took a turn for the worse when a fan returned the favor by tossing a beer and striking Albarn dead on. I was worried that this would spell bad for the show, but after the initial shock wore off, Albarn smiled, laughed it off, and admitted it was fair play and cheekily admitted, “this is how I usually smell at the end of the night.”

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It was at this point that I realized the band were in high spirits, looking genuinely happy to be playing together in the world greatest arena. It helped that they were able to work in not just new songs from The Magic Whip, but old-school highlights such as “Beetlebum,” “Girls & Boys,” and “The Universal.” “Parklife” was particularly memorable as the band allowed a bunch of lucky fans to come on stage, and even let one fan tackle one of the fast-paced furious verses, surprisingly nailing it perfectly with precision.

It was an unforgettable performance that actually almost did rival the MHOW show, as it showed that Blur still had it, and most importantly, that American fans still had plenty of love for the band.

Find some shots from their performance posted below, along with shots of Courtney Barnett who opened the show, and killed it, as she did every single time I saw her in 2015 (which was quite a bit).

Courtney Barnett Setlist:

1. Avant Gardener
2. Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party
3. Small Poppies
4. Depreston
5. Elevator Operator
6. An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York)
7. Dead Fox
8. Pedestrian at Best

Blur Setlist:

1. Go Out
2. There’s No Other Way
3. Lonesome Street
4. Badhead
5. End of a Century
6. Ghost Ship
7. Coffee & TV
8. Out of Time
9. Country Sad Ballad Man
10. Beetlebum
11. Thought I Was a Spaceman
12. Trimm Trabb
13. Tender
14. Parklife
15. Song 2
16. To the End
17. This Is a Low

Encore:

18. Stereotypes
19. Girls & Boys
20. For Tomorrow
21. The Universal

Courtney Barnett:

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Blur:

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