SO.CO Team

11 months ago

Live: Blur Triumph at Wembley Stadium - 9th July 2023

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After a raucous performance in front of a sold out Wembley stadium just the evening before, you might have expected these 'old men' (Damon's words, not mine) to take it easy on Sunday evening. Blur, apparently, didn't get that memo, and once again stormed the national stadium, and showed why they are still one of the most revered bands in the UK, even now.

Blur @ Wembley Stadium (Tom Pallant)

Blur @ Wembley Stadium (Tom Pallant)

This historic brace of shows, surprisingly the first that Blur have played here, came very close to not happening at all. With a festival-headline show in France pulled the previous week, due to an injury sustained by drummer Dave Rowntree, there was a real chance that Blur’s big nights, much like Dave’s knee, might need to be put on ice. Thankfully there was no such issue, and the band delivered a pair of career defining shows fully deserving of this most majestic of venues. 

Blur @ Wembley Stadium (Tom Pallant)

Blur @ Wembley Stadium (Tom Pallant)

With a new album in the pipeline (due July 21st), we might have expected a few teasers of the new material to come, but other than opener St. Charles’ Square, which sounds like Popscene-era Blur, with added sonic meltdowns, and the reflective The Narcissist, both of which have been promoted heavily in recent weeks, this is a show heavy on the hits, plus a few deep dives to keep the uber-fans happy, and to show that the band have lost none of their playfulness. 

Blur @ Wembley Stadium (Tom Pallant)

Blur @ Wembley Stadium (Tom Pallant)

That playfulness came through in the show in spades, with Phil Daniels making a rare appearance to perform Parklife, and the return of Lot 105 to the set, with it’s end-of-the-pier organ and massed “la la la la la” singalong which boomed around Wembley whilst sitting oddly between the ‘show-closer’ This Is A Low and indie-rave classic Girls and Boys. It worked perfectly to open an encore which also included an appearance by the London Community Gospel Choir on Tender, and wondrous show closer The Universal, which could be heard echoing down Olympic Way as the mass of fans headed into the London night. 

Blur @ Wembley Stadium (Tom Pallant)

Blur @ Wembley Stadium (Tom Pallant)

Back in the mid-90s, the UK music press made a huge deal of the ‘battle of Britpop’, pitching Manchester indie-heroes Oasis against London’s Blur. There could only be one winner when Roll With It went toe-to-toe with Country House, but whilst the Gallagher brothers might have won that  particular battle, it seems clear now the dust has settled, that the spoils of war belong to Damon Albarn and company. An absolute triumph of a weekend. 

Blur @ Wembley Stadium (Phoebe Fox)

Blur @ Wembley Stadium (Phoebe Fox)

Words: Thomas Jackson

Header Image: Tom Pallant