Gorillaz spectacular at Agganis

A review of Gorillaz at the Agganis Arena on October 6, 2010

, Managing Editor

Well Gorillaz fans your wish finally came true. The “world’s most successful virtual band” finally appeared in the flesh here in Boston… and the wait was certainly worth it. Damon Albarn & co. put on a spectacular showcase of material from the group’s three highly successful albums.

After a show as satisfying as this, some fans may be thinking, “What took so long?”. Unfortunately, the tough thing about Gorillaz is that although they’re known as a “virtual band”, in actuality it takes a big group to put together their sound and big groups lead to big costs, thus the lack of touring over the years.

The “group” included guests Bobby Womack, De la Soul, Little Dragon, and rappers Syria, Kano, and Bashy. All the guests brought their own unique contribution to the show but the two newcomers who were the most delightful to watch were Mick Jones and Paul Simonon of the Clash, clad in sailor’s hats and leather jackets, providing guitar, bass, and an extra dose of cool throughout the show’s entirety. Watching those two icons of punk rock mix it up with wildman Albarn and the contingent of hip hop guests was just as enjoyable as any visuals the band provided throughout the evening.

Speaking of that subject, a distinct characteristic of Gorillaz has always been their imaginatively animated videos. For several of their performances they featured their music videos on the stage screen to accompany the number, such as MTV/VH1 staples (when they play videos) “19-2000”, “Feel Good, Inc.”, and “Clint Eastwood”. There were plenty of original videos to go along with their show as well, including glimpses of “backstage” where the Gorillaz themselves: Murdoc, 2D, and Cyborg Noodle appeared stuck in their dressing room while the “warm-up band” aka Albarn & co., did their thing.

Despite all the guests, outstanding musicianship, and intriguing videos, of course the creative genius behind the whole production, Damon Albarn, was still the star of the show. Albarn brought an energy that was invigorating as he jumped about the stage, pandered to the fans, and livened up some of the more slow-tempoed songs like “Empire Ants” with his charges towards the front of the stage. Albarn performed with a joy that showed he had wanted this tour just as badly as his fans.

Still, with such a highly anticipated show, with such a revered artist, it was shocking to see some empty seats around Agganis Arena. Yes, tickets were expensive and times are certainly tough, but it’s not like this is an artist that comes around every year and asks you to shell out $70 each time. This is a rare experience, one certainly worth saving up for or splurging on. Maybe it would have been wiser for Gorillaz to play the Garden and lower ticket prices. Nevertheless, people of Boston, wherever they may play on their next tour (if we are so fortunate), spend your money wisely; spend it on Gorillaz.

Early arrivals were treated to a 45 minute set by N.E.R.D. who are currently on tour in support of their upcoming album, Nothing.

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