DAMON’S WORD IS GOSPEL

The star joins the London Community Gospel Choir to run through versions of 'Silent Night' and 'White Christmas'...

BLUR’s DAMON ALBARN made a surprise appearance on stage with his recent collaborators THE LONDON COMMUNITY GOSPEL CHOIR at the LONDON BARBICAN CENTRE last night (December 19).

The Blur frontman joined the choir, who had previously worked with him on the single ‘Tender’, for a solo, mostly unaccompanied version of ‘Silent

Night’ and a sing-a-long version of ‘White Christmas’.

Billed in the programme as “an extra special surprise guest star

vocalist”, he appeared halfway through their third annual set of gospel

classics and Christmas carols at the London venue.

In comparison with the virtuoso singers of the choir, his version of

‘Silent Night’ was shaky and raw – reminiscent of his performance on the Blur single ‘No Distance Left To Run’. It may have come as something of a relief for the audience when he came to the end of the three verses and began playing a melodica, before being joined by the rest of the choir on the chorus.

“Bazil (Rev Bazil Meade, the choir leader) asked me to sing ‘White Christmas’, he announced, immediately afterwards, starting to look more relaxed, “but there’s no way I’m going to sing it on my own. I’m not Bing Crosby by any stretch of the imagination!”

This went down well with the audience who helped him out on a poignant version of the perennial favourite, before he left the stage to the choir, only returning for the collective finale of the gospel classic ‘Oh Happy Day’.

“What can I say?” he replied, grinning, when NME.COM asked him how it went after the show. “Happy Christmas!”