Damon Albarn live at the Sydney Opera House

Damon Albarn live at the Sydney Opera House

Originally scheduled for two shows over two nights at the Sydney Opera House, however due to the unforeseen tragic events that unfolded at Martin Place on 15 December, much of Sydney and the Opera house included was shutoff by police.

I’m sure most people were expecting a refund and the anticlimax of a cancelled show, Damon had other ideas, and did back to back shows on the second night to give the people what they want to see.

I was lucky enough to see the first show. We were treated to an eclectic mix from Damon’s long career with plenty of Gorillaz tunes, a couple of Blur songs and even some of the lesser known ‘the good, the bad and the queen’. Every song was as you would expect from someone of Damon’s calibre played impeccably, and the set list was beautifully crafted building up from slow and often macabre to a climax that had the whole audience standing and cheering along.

An excellent plethora of musicians accompanied Damon, starting with his regular band a four piece called ‘The heavy seas’. These guys were seriously good, all exceptional musicians who not only played but performed, their enjoyment was obvious and as it came across in the music it could not help but infect the audience.

Also joining Damon on stage were ‘The Southern Gospel Choir’ from Tasmania, who’s harmonies gave a full sound, only singing in a few songs when required these guys and girls brought another layer to the sound. A local string quartet and a trumpeter from Iceland also added their piece to make what was a massive sound.

Kicking things off with Gorillaz’ Spitting Out The Demons, Damon treated us to an hour and forty of ups and downs, at times it bordered on avant-garde at others mind blowing. Damon definitely saved the crowd pleasers to the end, finishing the main set with a couple of Blur tunes, the last before the encore being a stripped down version of ‘out of time’ with just Damon on the piano had the crowd on its feet roaring for more.

It was during the encore that the special guests appeared on stage with Victoria’s own Remi performing the rap in ‘Clint Eastwood’ with some improvised lyrics and a lively audience this could only be topped by De La Soul appearing to sing their parts in ‘Feel Good Inc’ another Gorillaz classic that really got the audience screaming. Lastly a slightly mellower solo tune to get us out in time for the next show.

About half way through Damon said that he was going to put his all into this show as the temptation would be to save a little back for the second gig. It seemed that he did indeed put his all into this show, I would have loved to have seen the second show to know if they could all have put the same amount of energy into their performance. An excellent night and well done Damon for not taking the easy route and cancelling the first show.

 

Setlist:

Spitting Out the Demons (Gorillaz)

Lonely Press Play

Everyday Robots

Tomorrow Comes Today (Gorillaz)

Slow Country (Gorillaz)

Kids With Guns (Gorillaz)

Three Changes (The Good, the Bad & the Queen)

Hostiles

Photographs (You Are Taking Now)

Kingdom of Doom (The Good, the Bad & the Queen)

You and Me

Hollow Ponds

El Mañana (Gorillaz)

Don’t Get Lost In Heaven (Gorillaz)

Out of Time (Blur)

All Your Life (Blur)

Encore:

End of a Century (Blur)

Mr Tembo

Clint Eastwood (Gorillaz) (feat.Remi)

Feel Good Inc. (Gorillaz) (feat.De La Soul)

Heavy Seas of Love

Damon Albarn

Global Surf Sounds brings together travel, surfing and music around the world. A source for the worldwide surfing community to reach the far ends of the earth in the search for the perfect wave, sound and adventure.

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