The British group led by Damon Albarn was in Vincennes on Thursday, June 2, the Parisian stage of its European tour.
Between two concerts in Barcelona, and before the continuation of a European tour which will pass by France twice (on June 15, at the Ancient Theater of Vienna, and on the 17th at the arenas of Nîmes), Gorillaz opened, Thursday, June 2, the We Love Green festival. A slightly offbeat start, in the heart of the Bois de Vincennes – the event will be back in full swing on June 4 and 5, after a Friday off – but it was the only way to be able to welcome this group, which remained a model, to Paris. avant-garde pop.
Could we have bet on such longevity when, twenty-one years ago, we discovered Clint Eastwood, the first single from the virtual formation imagined by singer Damon Albarn and designer Jamie Hewlett? Although the song was an exciting combination of saturated dub and youthful pop melody, one would think that this group made up of comic book characters would have the ephemeral life of a gadget.
Thursday evening, the enthusiasm of the 25,000 spectators (many of whom were too young to have discovered Gorillaz in its early days), listening to around twenty tracks taken from half a dozen albums, recalled the consistency of a repertoire and the visionary relevance of a concept. Acceleration of stylistic fusions, variety of collaborations announcing that of streaming playlists, creatures anticipating those of the metaverse… Gorillaz had enough of a head start not to age.
The group’s first concerts camouflaged the stage behind screens on which Jamie Hewlett’s animations were projected. The real musicians only appeared in shadow, as if Damon Albarn feared his status as a Britpop star in his other band, Blur, was polluting Gorillaz’s credibility. Now surrounded by about fifteen instrumentalists and choristers, the Londoner no longer has this false modesty when he enters the stage of We Love Green, dressed in a flashy pink tracksuit and a matching cap.
Willingly advancing towards the crowd to take communion as close as possible to them, Albarn assumes, at 54, the paternity of these creations without sacrificing the characters drawn by his accomplice. Throughout the concert, the giant backstage screen and the two others located on the sides are inhabited by the appearances, performances, adventures, and post-apocalyptic sprees of 2D, Russel, Murdoch, and Noodle, respectively singer, drummer, bass player, and guitarist of this group of paper and Celluloid.