and after the disappointment of M.I.A earlier in the week, to say that i was apprehensive about seeing Gorillaz at the o2 arena was a massive understatement.
even before the Maya debacle i was kinda concerned about how thing would turn out since past experience didn't exactly bode well for it.
i'd already documented my feelings about Blur's massive Hyde Park gigs and i was unimpressed with Gorillaz' drafted in headline slot at Glastonbury earlier this year, it was shambolic and rambling and lacked any real energy, when you combine this with the fact that i knew Flaming Lips would be much more entertaining over on the other stage, we reached the conclusion that we wouldn't bother to stick around to see if the Gorillaz set got any better
and i guess that brings the story pretty much up to date, with me spending the months since Glastonbury wondering if it could have been some hokum Damon Albarn curse that had been put upon me, i love virtually all the music the man touches, but so far 2 out of 3 live performances had disappointed me (with the exception being The Good, The Bad and The Queen in Victoria Park)
thankfully my misgivings were misplaced and i hadn't felt like i had thrown all of my money away in one week, virtually from the outset it was obvious that this would surpass the shoddy performance from the summer, there was a build up of genuine anticipation as opposed to the mix of curiosity and high hopes that flooded the fields of Glastonbury, and even tho we were on very familiar ground, with the similar starts to the set and a repetition of the same animation sequences we had already seen, it still didn't feel like we had seen this live show before, if anything it felt that glasto was the dress rehearsal and this was the real deal that we had been looking forward to
for a start, Damon Albarn was a lot more (for want of a better word) animated, actually taking to the stage and bounding among the performers instead of hiding behind his keyboards towards the back of the stage and trying to orchestrate a star spangled extravaganza, onstage at the o2 arena you could believe that he was truly involved in the project and followed this belief through by acting like a part-time lead singer between the expected guestspots
another fault i levelled at Glastonbury was the stop/start nature of the entire headline slot, lacking cohesion and causing immense boredom when the Pyramid Stage crowd were frequently met with silence, and this problem has been ironed out, leaving us with a perfectly flowing performance, all tied together with slick animation asides and always eyecatching backdrop videos throughout, creating one of the ultimate audio-visual experiences possible
not every guest performer was there with them, but this was inconsequential when considering the performers they had still managed to pull together and pull off without making the night feel like a charity fundraising gala show, it still felt celebrational but far from trite, the mood onstage was joyous and the crowd reaction was equally as enjoyable.
so, second time around Damon actually managed to steer a smooth course towards Plastic Beach, transferring the atmospheric album onto stage with a crew of veteran musicians, world spanning guests and a smattering of new blood, creating an almost perfect vehicle for his fictional bands career to date and at the same time making me a very pleased punter.
money well spent indeed.