It's perhaps fair to say that band reformations have gone a step too far when one of the key things to take away from a gig is the ability to say 'Well, they didn't play that one last time they got back together'.
Yet somehow, Blur managed to play a set of rarities and album tracks for just 350 gig goers last night (Aug 2) and get away with it. Just.
Opening with package holiday anthem 'Girls & Boys', Blur ran through a set leaning heavily on 'Modern Life Is Rubbish' and took the opportunity to road-test songs they haven't played for over ten years.
'Colin Zeal' and 'Oily Water' take things back to 1993 with the 'Modern Life Is Rubbish' album tracks sounding as brash and confrontational as they did nearly twenty years ago. The group have clearly located the fountain of youth with Alex James instantly transformed from the cheese loving friend of David Cameron into a chiseled 90's icon by merely slinging a bass guitar over his shoulders. Sure, the hairlines are an inch further back but Blur's songs continue to make sense a generation down the line.
As Damon Albarn explains before 'Young and Lovely', "We have kids ourselves now, some of whom are teenagers now" and the song is thusly turned on its head in front of a crowd literally dripping in sweat.
Proof further that Blur still very much have 'it' are 'The Puritan' and 'Under The Westway'. The former is a spiky pop hit that, weirdly, sounds like Blur covering Gorillaz whilst the latter delivers the emotional punch a set full of pogo-friendly fun needed.
OK, so there was no 'Parklife' or 'Song 2' (we'll live) but the lack of 'This is a Low', 'For Tomorrow' and 'The Universal' was as heartbreaking as the songs themselves. On what was an unforgettale and unique gig we expected out heartsrings tugged, but through what was present, not what was missing.