Gorillaz, the brainchild of British musician Damon Albarn and visual artist Jamie Hewlett ended their six year hiatus this year, with the release of their 5th studio album, Humanz. Up until the Humanz era, the band has been mostly known as a ‘virtual band’ consisting of four characters illustrated by Hewlett with Albarn handling the musical portion of things. For their live performance in the past the live band has performed behind screens with images of the virtual characters.
But with the release of “Humanz” the man behind the music has stepped forward. Now performing an entire set as a human band, Albarn and a large ensemble of musicians are in the US, playing the first tour in 7 years. On Wednesday night, the tour came to a rain soaked Blue Hill Bank Pavilion in Boston, MA for a show that would prove to be a classic.
Anyone who goes to concerts regularly will tell you that there are few shows every year that stand out in memory for whatever reason, well on this night there was a multitude of them. First off there was the weather, an intense thunder storm welcomed concert goers sweeping through the area shortly after doors opened, for a short time the venue invited even those with tickets in uncovered sections to stand under the tent, but as soon as the lighting subsided that courtesy did as well.
The capacity crowd were all in their seats, both covered and uncovered sections, as Gorillaz came onstage at 8:40, opening their show with a song they haven’t played since 2002, “M1 A1” tour debuts would be another memorable point of this show, with Gorillaz debuting two songs never before played live, - the others being “Revolving Doors” and “DARE.” But the biggest moment of the night was unquestionably the surprise appearance by the legendary and rarely seen on stage Carly Simon for the song “Ticker Tape.” Simon appeared on the track as a featured artist on the newest album. Carly Simon is an artist who rarely performs live, not having gone on a full scale tour in over a decade. But she took the stage to a rousing ovation and performed a flawless rendition of her verse on the track.
The rest of the setlist, oh by the way, was nothing short of perfection, featuring songs like “Sex Murder Party,” “Clint Eastwood” and “Stylo.” Their stage presence is that of seasoned pros, which Albarn is. The show was full of surprises and memorable moments, including opener Vince Staples joining the band on stage on multiple occasions to lend his rapping skills to their songs. It was show that anyone who attended will not soon forget.