Reviewed by: Jack Smith
Perth arena saw Blur play in Perth for the first time in eighteen years last Thursday, and judging from the crowd’s apparent disinterest, it could be another couple of decades until we see them return.
Despite the general lack of enthusiasm, there were some genuinely devoted fans who managed to carry the night, and for those of us in the audience who are outside the Alzheimer’s danger zone, it was a night we are unlikely to forget. Support came in the form of London born, working class, indie messiah Jamie T.
Warming the stage for the headline act, Jamie T played to the three-quarter capacity stadium, and noticeably British crowd. Coming from London myself, the combination of stoic expressions, Fred Perry jackets all over the shop and English music, it felt just like home, it even rained. If you were in the first six or seven rows the atmosphere was buzzing, everyone sang along to songs like ‘368’ and ‘Don’t You Find’, nobody was stood still for too long and everyone was having a pretty manic time.
His hip-hop indie fusion sound is usually described by combing artists he has been influenced by, but the thing I find so appealing about his music is the individuality and non-classifiability. Jamie T has an impressive vocal range and tonal variability, from classic British hip-hop to post-punk-pop. Ending his set with the 2009 hit ‘Sticks n Stones’ and then ‘Zombie’ he managed to reanimate a large part of the crowd into dancing and bouncing, I’m not sure if that counts as irony.
During a short interval the arena filled to about 90% and after an eerie playing of ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’, Damon, Alex, Graham and Dave walked onstage, arms out-stretched to applause, cheers, woops, yells, bells and whistles. The average age of the crowd seemed to jump up a few generations and as Damon Alburn pointed out, it’d been about that long since they’d been to Perth. Kicking off their set with a new track ‘Go Out’, it was clear that the decade-long hiatus had done nothing to dampen the band’s ability to work a live audience and put on an energetic and entertaining show.
Their two-hour set list was split into about 60% well-received Blur classics and 40% less well received new tracks from their recent album The Magic Whip. As the entire seating section had been playing by the rules and actually remained seated all night, Damon refused to play the song that everyone had been waiting for, ‘Song 2’, until everyone was on their feet.
It’s pretty rare for a front man to stop a show to ask an audience to participate, which I felt was a pretty negative reflection of the geriatric crowd. But once they had adjusted their hearing-aids and removed their teeth, the room turned into a ‘Song 2’-fuelled moshpit. Ending with the Britpop hit ‘Girl and Boys’ and a melancholy ‘The Universal’, Blur exceeded expectations and put on the best show I’ve ever seen in this city, we can only hope that they come back soon, it really could happen.