Gorillaz welcome you to the world of the plastic beach

Still riding high on the success of “Plastic Beach”, Gorillaz are one of the biggest commodities in UK music today. With their star-studded array of guest vocalists and stunning live performance, Damon Albarn and co. are on top of their game.

Before they were due to play possibly the biggest arena in the UK, the crowd was already alive and fists were pumping for De La Soul. The New York trio were the perfect warm-up act and worked the ever-growing crowd into a frenzy.

Even though some of those in attendance didn’t know much about De La Soul (besides featuring on two Gorillaz tracks) it didn’t stop everyone from having a good time and dancing along.

Playing hits such as “Me, Myself And I” and “Stakes Is High”, the thousands inside the O2 couldn’t get enough. Even an impromptu version of Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” made an appearance.

Once De La Soul had left the stage, the anticipation amongst the 20,000 fans was increasing by the minute. However, once the lights dimmed it was show time.


Blur's Damon Albarn is the mastermind behind Gorillaz. Photo: Jeremy M Farmer

Above the stage was the word Gorillaz in huge illuminated letters, above that was an even bigger screen. As the lights dimmed, Murdoch, 2-D and Noodle appeared on the screen in their dressing room. It’s hard to believe the appreciation for cartoon-turned CGI characters in a live setting.

Kicking off the set with “Welcome To The World Of The Plastic Beach” the 20+ people on stage were having the gig of their life. Playing to a capacity O2 arena with a big screen showing Snoop Dogg rap over the music your playing, it couldn’t get much better for an artist.

Sadly Snoop couldn’t be in attendance due to other commitments, but the number of guests Albarn had lined up was incredible.

The first big singalong of the night came with 2001’s smash hit “19-2000”, Rosie Wilson even took to the stage to perform. The big screen played a vital role in the concert, the visual impact was terrific. Used for every song in the setlist, it either played the original music video or a vignette symbolising the song’s meaning.

Being the Escape To Plastic Beach tour, it was a very “Plastic Beach” heavy set. This, however, wasn’t a bad thing as it is arguably Gorillaz’s best album to date. Tracks such as “On Melancholy Hill” and “Rhinestone Eyes” proved this with the participation from the audience. For the latter song Albarn was running around stage like his life depended on it screaming “That’s electric!”.

Playing a range of tracks spanning all three albums, the crowd were in the palm of Albarn’s hand. Classic track “Dirty Harry” felt right at home in an arena setting, with all those in attendance singing along with special guest Bootie Brown.

De La Soul also took to the stage again to perform the fantastic “Superfast Jellyfish”, a visual treat with the jellyfish video on screen whilst the crowd all swayed their arms.

Amidst the stories that the new Gorillaz album has been recorded already, a new song was unveiled called “Doncamatic”, which featured rising star Daley. More and more guests took to the stage toward the end of the set, including Kano, Bashy, Little Dragon and Mark E Smith. A real treat for the fans though was the inclusion of “Punk”, the one and half minute frenzy from Gorillaz’s first album.

The encore was also full of surprises. Not just the re-appearance of Bobby Womack and De La Soul for “Cloud Of Unknowing” and “Feel Good Inc.” respectively, but Kano and Bashy rapping over the infamous “Clint Eastwood”. A really interesting version of a great pop track. Ending the evening on “Demon Days” culminated in a small jam session by the 20+ band members on stage.

Despite not including certain favourites such as “O Green World” or “Sweepstakes”, no-one in the crowd was stood still, everyone was dancing to possibly one of the best shows Gorillaz have ever played.

What started as an appreciation for the visuals of the show, has ended in a real party atmosphere and that’s precisely how one of UK’s best alternative acts wanted it.

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