It’s been 5 years since Gorillaz played their Swedish debut, and it’s been 24 years since the genesis of the world’s most popular animated band formed by 2-D, Murdoc, Noodles and Russel, but who’s really counting! Last night Gorillaz sounded as fresh as new at their comeback to Swedish soil with an astonishing concert at Skansen, roaming free and wild for an audience that couldn’t get enough of them.
Damon Albarn, the frontman and human avatar of the animated four, pours down his entire genius and energy on the stage from the moment he sets foot on it, dressed in black and with a pink jacket, colour-coded with the pink outfits of some of the members of his accompanying band.
The concert is dotted with guest performances by Bootie Brown, Pos and Sweetie Irie.
Hits like Last Living Souls and Tomorrow Comes Today are performed quite early into the show but it’s not until 19-2000‘s playful intro starts playing that the concert really takes off. The entire Skansen starts jumping, dancing and chanting to ever so catchy ‘Get the cool, Get the cool shoeshine’ along with what would be the singing of Noodles.
‘It’s all Good News’ is the opening line of Pirate Jet, Damon Albarn introduces the song saying -This is the moment when good news meets bad news…- he then continues saying that with this song he likes to go down from the stage, but there seems to be no stairs for him to make his way towards the public, so he improvises, going back stage, a confused audience sees him disappear from sight but continues to hear him talking through the mic saying he doesn’t quite know where he’s going, until he shows up in front of the stage and the song can begin. A song with an environmental message and a video to support it, with images of the devastating ocean pollution and killing of sea life caused by mankind. Albarn has climbed the fence and is now making contact with the public, quite a moment of climax.
Damon Albarn has a clear mind about the environmental issues, at some point he makes a comment about the heat on this warm summer day and its relation with the amount of plastic bottles that seem to multiply in the hands of many of the audience in the higher temperatures.
On Melancholy Hill, another of the concert’s high points, gets restarted when Damon Albarn who had putted on a 2-D mask made by a fan, stops playing, and says, he can’t really see a thing through the little holes for the eyes. -If it was the piano I can play without seeing anything but not the guitar- says Albarn.
The encore break brings us a fully loaded closure with the favourites Feel Good Inc. and Clint Eastwood. ‘Windmill, windmill for the land. Is everybody in?’ say the lyrics of Feel Good Inc. And there’s a windmill right next to the stage there at Skansen, Damon Albarn gets everybody in the audience to blow to try to make the windmill move. The 7 353 souls attending the show start blowing and for a split second the windmill seems to actually turn a bit, to the joy of a very pleased Albarn.
Clint Eastwood had the guest performance of Sweetie Irie, the singer’s energy flows on stage in such a manner that for a moment he pretty much steals the entire show, highly praised by the public at Skansen raising their hands to Sweetie Irie‘s ‘Free my motion, free my motion’ chant and even amusing Damon Albarn. This last song almost seems to never end, not that any of us who attended the show wanted that to happen. A fabulous freeing end to a wild show by Gorillaz.
All photographs by Karen Lundquist.