Blur - Hyde Park, London 12/08/12
In the pearly hue of distant spotlights, shining down on a stage set in the heart of West London waits four men – ready to become legends. They’re dreams are truly Olympic, their destiny, to be the band the public recount for bringing British music home. They are Blur, they are wonderful, and they are home.
"We wrote this in February, just imagining what the last day of the Olympics would feel like, being here," says Damon Albarn, soaring into the intro of the truly cathartic 'Under The Westway', a 21st century anthem for London, "this is written just for you, In Hyde Park, today. It's your song." This is London in its twilight, under the lens of the world, beaming out to millions, every moment analysed. But, nothing, even in a world where Mo Farah (who Damon makes a shout out to during the set) inspires a generation, leaves me feeling short of breath like Blur do at Hyde Park.
It's this grace, that seems specific only to this moment that makes Blur's 2012 Hyde Park gig, special. Where-as-before, back in 2009, as much as those two gigs on a dusty sunny day lay claim to being the best shows they've ever performed; perhaps, this show, in Olympic London, is the most emotional.
From the call and response rendition of 'Tender' that echoes well over the 15-minute mark, to the uniquely anthemic 'The Universal', Blur astound. They are brit-pop's only true survivors, and now should only be deserving of the legend status they’ve craved for years.
We owe a lot to Damon and co, we may not realise it, but if things went a little differently back in the mid-nineties, and record labels were a little sterner, then these tunes that resonate so perfectly with British culture may have never been written. And we, probably, wouldn't have been standing in Hyde Park on the night of London 2012's Olympic Closing Ceremony, not realising the disaster that was unfolding on TV screens up and down this country. Blur truly are the enigma's of everything that is British, to me, and many others, and without them, we'd be lost.
Britain needed this moment; Britain needed, you, Blur. And you answered; with one of the most emotional gigs I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing. And as I boarded the tube, ready to begin the lonely journey back into the distant plains of suburban South London, I found myself carried by only one thing, a chorus carrying over, and over, bellowing from the mouths of thousands.
"Come on, come on, come on. Get through it."
We owe you, Blur. Thank you.
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