Live Review

A truly special night: Blur, Wembley Stadium, London

8th July 2023

It’s a two-hour reminder of just how they earned their place at the top.

At a certain point in the career of a band as era-defining as Blur, there become few landmarks left to achieve. But from the reverence that Damon Albarn gives to this, their first headline gig at Wembley Stadium, it’s clear that this is an important one to the quartet. ‘We’ve been waiting for this moment all our lives,’ he says, and no wonder. It’s the meeting of two bonafide London legends, and the fact that they haven’t crossed paths before is as baffling as it is exciting. It’s palpable both in the audience and among the band that this is a truly special night.

From beginning to end, the energy on stage is exhilarating, with Damon and Graham Coxon in particular jumping in the air and strutting along the barrier like they’re teenagers again. ‘I realise there’s something vaguely hilarious about middle aged men throwing themselves around the stage’, Damon grins halfway through the two-hour set, ‘but fuck it – you made us this way.’ The songs, with very few exceptions, are just as good as they ever were. ‘Advert’ carries a punk edge to it that advances it beyond the recording, and ‘Song 2’ is still a ferocious buzzsaw. Despite the fact that Blur’s discography is dotted with strings and choirs, there aren’t armies of auxiliary musicians behind the band, and their more aggressive songs become gems in the set for just how visceral they are.

Blur, Wembley Stadium, London Blur, Wembley Stadium, London

When there are guest spots, they too are highlights – Phil Daniels emerges from a roadworks tent for a particularly boisterous 'Parklife', while the London Community Gospel Choir join for 'Tender', which the crowd continues after the band have stopped for a moment of genuine togetherness. There's no sense that Blur have come here to reinvent themselves: they top-and-tail the set with their two newest songs, 'St Charles Square' and 'The Narcissist', and everything in between is a treasure, with hardly a moment in the two-hour set where the audience isn't feeding back an infectious energy. For a band with such a massive reputation, Blur have managed the seemingly impossible task of maintaining it with effortless cool, and at this landmark gig they once again demonstrate just how they earned their place at the top.

Tags: Blur, Reviews, Live Reviews

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