jakub | May 20, 2023

Watch Blur play two new songs at intimate homecoming gig

Blur played an intimate warm up show in their hometown of Colchester last night (May 19) ahead of their two huge concerts at Wembley Stadium.

The Britpop icons performed in front of a tiny crowd at the town’s Arts Centre for a two-hour set that saw the band pull from across their back catalogue and air two songs from their forthcoming new album ‘The Ballad Of Darren’.

It comes after Colchester Council’s culture boss called for Blur to stage a reunion gig in the Essex city last year.

Speaking about the gig, their first in eight years, ahead of their performance at a press conference in Colchester Castle, frontman Damon Albarn said: “How we play tonight is kind of how we will play at Wembley although hopefully it will be a bit better there. But the reason why we’re doing the shows at Wembley are exactly the same as why we’re doing this one here.”

Kicking off with rollicking new track ‘St Charles Square’ from their forthcoming new album ‘The Ballad Of Darren’ – footage of which you can view below – the band then launched straight into classic hit single ‘There’s No Other Way’ before they performed 1992 rarity ‘Popscene’ for the first time since 2013. They also later showcased ‘Modern Life Is Rubbish’ deep cut ‘Villa Rosie’ for the first time.

Ahead of ‘Beetlebum’, Albarn was greeted with huge cheers when he said to the crowd: “Isn’t it nice to see everybody back together?”

He then told the audience that the concert was actually the first time the band had ever played at the venue.

Before the band performed ‘Coffee &TV’, Albarn informed the crowd: “We were making the album until 10 days ago and we thought we’d better start rehearsing.” He then joked: “Dave [Rowntree] and Graham [Coxon] have been rehearsing these harmonies so I hope you can appreciate that.”

As Blur prepared to launch into ‘Parklife’, Albarn tried to get Darren, who is the subject of their new record and was in the audience, up onstage.

When he refused, the frontman then declared: “You’re fucked now mate,” before kicking off their huge hit single.

Blur then performed ‘To The End’ before playing ‘Oily Water’ for the first time since 2012 and ‘Song 2’, which saw the whole crowd chanting the single’s catchy refrain.

Returning for the encore to perform ‘Girls & Boys’, Albarn chanted: “Essex, Essex, Essex,” to the crowd before he added: “Now let’s see you dance you fucking old cunts.”

At one point during the hit single, the frontman was stood on the stage barrier singing into the audience.

Blur then gave their new single ‘The Narcissist’, its live debut before the show wrapped up with ‘Tender’, ‘For Tomorrow’ and ‘The Universal’.

Blur played:

‘St Charles Square’
‘There’s No Other Way’
‘Trouble In The Message Centre’
‘Chemical World’
‘Trimm Trabb’
‘Villa Rosie’
‘Coffee & TV’
‘Out Of Time’
‘End Of A Century’
‘To The End’
‘Oily Water’
‘Song 2’
‘This Is A Low’


‘Girls & Boys’
‘The Narcissist’
‘For Tomorrow’
‘The Universal’

Reacting to the performance after the show, local couple Sarah and Anthony Varela who were seeing Blur for the first time, said the show was “absolutely brilliant”.

Sarah added: “We just entered the ballot and we were just gobsmacked that we got tickets. I’m gonna be on a high for days after that. It was so, so, so good.”

David Phoenix, from Redcar, who was also seeing the band for the first time, agreed. “It was unbelievable, it blew my mind. I can’t believe we got tickets as well. It was special,” he said.

Blur will now play Eastbourne Winter Gardens tomorrow (May 21).

Check out Blur’s upcoming tour dates below, and visit here for tickets and more information.

MAY 2023
21 – EASTBOURNE, Winter Gardens
26 – WOLVERHAMPTON, Civic at the Halls

JUNE 2023

1 – PRIMAVERA SOUND, Barcelona
10 – PRIMAVERA PORTO, Portgual
24 – MALAHIDE, Malahide Castle & Gardens
30 – ROSKILDE, Denmark

JULY 2023

6 – BEAUREGARD , France
8 – LONDON, Wembley Stadium
9 – LONDON, Wembley Stadium
22 – LUCCA, Lucca Summer Festival, Italy


8 – OKERSE FESTEN, Belgium
9 2023 – ØYA Festival, Norway
10-12 – WAY OUT WEST Festival, Sweden

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