Britpop kings - Blur's city serenade [Review]

Britpop kings - Blur's city serenade [Review]

Blur were welcomed with open arms when their HK-inspired tour came full circle

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Lead singer Damon Albarn invited concert goers to rock out onstage with the band.
Lead singer Damon Albarn invited concert goers to rock out onstage with the band.
Photo: Warner Music Hong Kong

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Bassist Alex James braves the HK humidity in shorts.
Bassist Alex James braves the HK humidity in shorts.
Photo: Warner Music Hong Kong

When Blur took to the HKCEC stage on Wednesday, they did so with the cheery greeting: "Hello, we're Blur and we're here to play some songs about your town".

One of the most well-loved British rock bands of all time, their repertoire has taken on a Hong Kong flavour of late. Latest album, The Magic Whip, released in April this year, is inspired by their adventures during a few days here.

The show started with some of the newer tracks in their album, with hits sprinkled throughout.

Mid-show, lead singer Damon Albarn invited concert goers to rock out onstage with the band during Parklife.

When several tried to pose for selfies with them, he chided "this wasn't part of the deal", before giving in.

When the first chords of Song 2 kicked in, the crowd went berserk. Playing their greatest hit may feel like an obligation when performing to audiences less familiar with their back-catalogue.

Less so in Hong Kong though - ardent fans were spotted singing along, closing their eyes and even weeping as they mouthed the words to the rarer songs they knew by heart.

Slower, softer numbers such as My Terracotta Heart, Tender and Pyongyang offered contrast to the guitar-driven noise. Introducing the latter, Albarn confessed "I would tell you the story [behind the song] but I want to maintain good relations" before ending with his face buried in his lap.

He recovered quickly to perform Ong Ong and continued like nothing happened.

Stepping offstage after This Is a Low, they returned to play three more songs including crowd-pleaser Girls and Boys.

During closer The Universal, Albarn raised a giant illuminated ice cream cone, before bidding adieu.

The gig was a dynamic one, but seemed to end on a jarring note with abruptly dimmed houselights. Less interaction with the audience was something that was quite unusual and there was confusion when the lights came on.

Still, it's pretty hard to feel hard done by this classic Britpop band.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Britpop kings' city serenade

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