Blur defy illness to play ‘last gig’ at T In The Park

Graham Coxon races from hospital to play headline show

Blur defied illness to headline the final night of T In The Park 2009 tonight (July 12), playing what frontman Damon Albarn described from the stage as the foursome’s “last gig”.

The reunited band’s guitarist Graham Coxon rushed from a nearby hospital to play the show after being struck down ill. As a result they didn’t arrive on the Main Stage until 10:15pm (BST) – nearly an hour-and-a-half later than their scheduled stage time.

Co-headliners Snow Patrol had earlier played their Main Stage set an hour later than first scheduled to bide time for Coxon, with the Scottish band beginning their set at 8pm.

Blur eventually walked on stage to huge cheers, Coxon raising an arm in appreciation while Albarn simply said, “Hi”, before launching into the band’s 1990 debut single, ‘She’s So High’.

“We nearly didn’t make it,” he said when the song ended. “Graham literally walked out of a hospital to come here. He’s alright. This is our last gig.”

With the show the band’s last scheduled live date, it was not clear whether the singer meant this was Blur‘s final ever gig or just the last of their summer run, which also saw them play shows in London‘s Hyde Park and headline Glastonbury.

Coxon later spoke, winding the crowd up by joking that “this is a new song,” before launching into a version of their 1999 single ‘Coffee And TV’.

‘Tender’ drew another huge sing-a-long from the crowd, while the band’s 1995 UK Number One single ‘Country House’ drew cheers as fans recognised the intro.

“Do you want another one like that?” Albarn asked the crowd. “Alright!” he added before playing 1994 album title track ‘Parklife’ – singing the vocal parts originally recorded by actor Phil Daniels, who was absent this evening.

“Thank you!” he shouted after the song ended. “Do you want… another one like that?” The band then began a slow jam that morphed into 1997 worldwide hit ‘Song 2’, with the crowd going crazy to Coxon‘s guitar riff.

“That’s the best ever, that one,” the frontman said when the song ended, leading the band through fan favourite ‘This Is A Low’ next.

They then headed off stage, returning shortly afterwards to kick off an encore with ‘Advert’, which saw Albarn brandishing a megaphone.

Following ‘For Tomorrow’, which the singer described as a “more melodic one”, the band ended their truncated 15 song headline show with an epic rendition of ‘The Universal’, during which he rushed into the crowd to shake hands with the front row.

“I want to thank everyone who’s supported us, everyone who’s given their heart and soul,” Albarn said before heading offstage to close T In The Park 2009.

Photo Gallery – all the highlights from T In The Park

Blog – T In The Park: how was it for you?

Blur played:

‘She’s So High’
‘Girls And Boys’
‘Tracy Jacks’
‘There’s No Other Way’
‘Out Of Time’
‘Coffee And TV’
‘Country House’
‘Song 2’
‘This Is A Low’
‘For Tomorrow’
‘The Universal’

NME.COM is coming live from T In The Park this weekend (July 10-12). Stay tuned for the latest news, photo galleries and video interviews.

Plus, make sure you get next week’s issue of NME, on UK newsstands from July 15, for the ultimate T In The Park 2009 review.