In the past two years, I have witnessed pretty much every single band that I loved between 1995 and 2004 embark on some kind of reunion or comeback. Some have been nostalgic fun, some have been ‘just okay‘ and others have been lacklustre and trampled over their legacy. Then there has been a very,very slight number which have been so awe-inspiring and loveable that you wonder how you survived 10 years without them. Blur, the musical love of my life and band who got me into guitar music in 1994, are most definitely in that exclusive bracket.
After their gloriously triumphant return in 2009, there was a slight concern that the band couldn’t put on an exact replica in 2012 – headlining Hyde Park– without it seeming tired and un imaginative. Turns out that they could and any cynicism needed to be swiftly dismissed. Perhaps we got it wrong all along, it wasn’t the release of self titled album ‘Blur‘ that was the start of the band’s “second act“, it was in fact in 2009 when Graham Coxon rejoined the band. Because Blur now very much seem like a band that have rediscovered their energy. Just as they we’re back in the days of ‘Modern Life Is Rubbish‘, they are once again a band that are playing because they want to, with each other because they enjoy it- not because they are on an epic promo schedule where they have to play every night to whoever they are told to.
And so to this Hyde Park show-although officially billed as the Olympics ‘closing ceremony‘ concert, this was 100% all about Blur. Classics such as ‘Tracy Jacks‘ and ‘Jubilee‘ were still played with hyperactive gusto, and epics such as ‘Tender‘ sounded even more magnificent to the backdrop of tens of thousands of people. Ultimately really, it was the encore consisting of ‘End of a Century‘ and ‘The Universal‘ that made this gig so gutwrenchingly brilliant- heartwarming, show stopping ballads played by a band that still seem to invest so personally in each song, 22 years later.
When looking back in 2005, it did at times feel difficult to even remember when bands such as Blur and Oasis were so that they made it on to the 10pm news. In 2012, reflecting back on this Hyde Park Show , none of that seems so strange, more absolutely comprehensible. With the energy they still show live, and their wondrous recent single ‘Under the Westway’, it seems Damon, Graham, Alex and Dave are still only part way through building their legacy and there are doubtless lots of people waiting eagerly for their next move.