There are some concerts that, when they are announced, you just have to go to. This, Blur’s only UK or Ireland gig in 2013, was one of them.
I’ve loved Blur for ages, but had never seen them live. The five month wait between purchasing the ticket, and the concert, seemed to last forever.
In Dublin on the day of the concert, I ventured into Tower Records. There was plenty of posters promoting the concert. However, the “Band of the week” in that particular store? Oasis. You got the love the sense of humour in that, accidental or not.
Something I only discovered when I arrived in Dublin was that IMMA was hosting “Blur 21”, an exhibition looking back at 21 years of Blur.
Unfortunately, it ended that day. It’s a pity it wasn’t on for one more day as I would have loved to have seen it.
I headed over to the venue via Luas. Not really knowing where I was going, I follows the crowd and managed to find it.
On the grounds of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, it was a massive open air gig. I managed to get into their, which as it turned out, was the place to be.
First band up, was The Strypes, 60s influenced teenagers from Cavan.
It’s a bit of a cliche to mention their ages (15-17) when in fact they have the stage persona, confidence and swagger of performers twice their age.
Even though they were supporting, and it wasn’t specifically “their crowd”, they still looked at home, and at ease.
If you haven’t heard it already, you should check out their debut single “Blue Collar Jane”
Next up, was Bat For Lashes. It was a strange combination of support acts, but it worked.
She played a mixture of slow and uptempo songs, the best of which, was saved for last, with a disco version of “Daniel”
As the was about to leave the stage, the grey skies disappeared and the sun came out. A sign perhaps?
The crowd were now impatient for Blur, chanting “Tender” amongst themselves. There were false alarms and cheers, but still, they wouldn’t appear on stage, before finally, they appeared.
At some concerts, you have to wait a couple of songs for a bit singalong hit. Not this one, as Blur opened with “Girls and Boys”
A bunch of 40 somethings on stage went back to their 20s, 30 somethings in the crowd went back to their teenage years, while 20 somethings younger got what Blur was about.
For three glorious minutes, it was 1994 again.
For the first couple of songs, Damon Albarn was throwing water from a bottle into the crowd. It became a badge of honour, as people rushed to get soaked by him.
They then ran through their catalog of hits, hits such as”Beetlebum” and “There’s No Other Way”, with Albarn jumping into the crowd during “Country House”
But there were some surprises, as Albarn tuned in his guitar and leaned towards he microphone, only to fool the crowd, as Blur went into the Graham Coxon sung “Coffee and TV” then mixing into “Tender”
There was one more big surprise, as a familiar voice was then heard saying hello to the crowd. It was, of course, Phil Daniels.
Daniels made another appearance at the encore, mostly just standing onstage and waving to the crowd, where they played “Under The Westway”, “For Tomorrow” and “The Universal”
Towards the end of “The Universal”, Albarn ran towards the crowd, high fiving those in the front row, and saying his goodbyes.
So that was it then. Not quite, one more surprise, but it probably wasn’t that surprising, as Dave Rowntree started playing that recognisable drum beat.
The crowd waited for then guitar riff, but could only hear drums, before finally, the guitar riff came.
The crowd waited, and waited, before finally, Albarn screamed WOO HOO!!!!
A superb ending to a superb concert.