Blur headlined the Friday night at the 21st Sziget Festival in Budapest, Hungary yesterday evening (August 9), playing a memorable greatest hits show in which Damon Albarn performed an entire song from within the crowd.
The show began at 9 30pm, with Albarn emerging in denim jacket and jeans, pumping the air with his fist and saying “First time” in reference to the fact that the band have not played in Hungary before. The Britpop legends then launched straight into ‘Girls & Boys’ during which Alex James, wearing shorts and a red neckerchief, performed with a cigarette hanging from his mouth.
“It’s been a very hot day,” a red-faced Albarn said after, while spraying water over the front rows, before playing early hit ‘There’s No Other Way’ and then ‘Beetlebum’, which ended with the singer strumming an acoustic guitar and pounding his feet on the drum podium.
He still seemed fixated on the day’s high 30s heat as a wind whipped up around the festival site. “They say there’s a storm coming,” he shouted. “Cool air! Rain! Yeah!” A rendition of ‘Out Of Time’ followed, before fan favourite ‘Trimm Trabb’, which Albarn sang through a megaphone.
Guitarist Graham Coxon took lead vocals for ‘Coffee And TV’, during which Albarn wandered around the stage with his acoustic guitar, joining the band’s backing singers for a dance. “You’re really making this a pleasure for us,” he said after. They then played ‘Tender’ and ‘To The End’, which was performed with a brass section, before picking up the pace with ‘Country House’. Stalking around in the pit and shaking hands as he sang, he leapt over the barrier into the crowd, who doused him with water.
The band finished with a fast-paced ‘Parklife’ and ‘End Of A Century’ before Albarn returned to the stage for a solo rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ to a member of the band’s road crew. The rest of the group then joined him to play 2012 single ‘Under The Westway’.
‘For Tomorrow’ came next, after which Albarn scanned the array of flags in the crowd and said: “There’s a lot of people from a lot of different countries out there. That’s a very positive thing.” He then spotted a sign asking him to take his pants off, and exposed some underpants in response. They then finished their encore with ‘The Universal’ and ‘Song 2’.
‘Girls And Boys’
‘There’s No Other Way’
‘Out Of Time’
‘Coffee And TV’
‘To The End’
‘End Of A Century’
‘This Is A Low’
‘Under The Westway’
Other acts to appear at Sziget 2013 so far have included Regina Spektor, who played “relatively new song” ‘You’ve Got Time’ and promised to try not to fuck it up”, and Dizzee Rascal, who played a set heavy on new material from forthcoming album ‘The Fifth’. The rapper’s set had a tricky start, as the rapper’s mic wasn’t working during opening track ‘Superman’, but he quickly won the crowd over.
The festival continues until Sunday, with performers including Editors, The Cribs, Empire Of The Sun and more still to play.