Live Music Review: Blur @ Hyde Park

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 114 months ago
Live Music Review: Blur @ Hyde Park

The brilliant Graham Coxon on the video screens at Hyde Park / image by Lindsey Clarke
Oh my. It's like being 16 again. Alex is shaking his fringe, Damon's doing the 'walking geezer' dance in his Fred Perry shirt, Dave is... well, Dave's drumming isn't he, and Graham is just being the coolest bastard on the planet. Yes friends, it's Blur, and they're back in London.

We get a two hour set of the greatest hits, wheeling out much of Parklife (but wisely ignoring most of The Great Escape) and all the people, so many people, have their arms in the air and are singing along. Badhead turns out to be an unexpected early highlight, Damon's melancholic crooning at not unpleasant odds with the baking sun. Tender and Beetlebum are sweetly dreamy, Chemical World shows itself yet again to be one of their best songs and when Phil Daniels announces himself with a cry of "Oo's nicked my scootah?" the crowd goes nuts.

But it's as the sun goes down and the moon rises over the stage that everything slides completely into place. Does To The End seem more heartfelt because we (and they) are older, or is it the magic of the evening? And is that the wind giving us goosebumps, or is it This Is A Low? The two encores aren't really a surprise, even for anyone who didn't watch Glastonbury, and Song 2 gently builds to an explosion, For Tomorrow is packed with portent and The Universal surprises this Londonista (who'd never really been that fond of it before) as the perfect rousing set closer.

There's one sour note to the night though, and it's nothing to do with the band. Friday's gig sold out in minutes so, barring swaps between friends / Twitter, this should be a fairly die-hard crowd. So why spend £45 on a ticket, then spend it with your back to the stage doing trombone impressions to your friends? Or announce one song to be the "best one they ever did, yah" then talk through it? And while we're here; don't throw bottles - they may be plastic but they still hurt when they land on your head, OK?

But to hell with all that: it's just so good to see Blur back with Graham at the heart of things. He seems to be having the time of his life - at one point he disappears off the video screens, playing his guitar on the floor - and he's proving once and for all that he is one of the best musicians we have. Damon's voice seems to have grown smoother and warmer, and nobody can groove a bass quite like Alex. Surely it's inevitable - political careers apart - that these guys will be recording together again soon? Because god knows, they've still got that spark.

Last Updated 04 July 2009