Blur called US presidential hopeful Donald Trump a “chump” during their headline set at New York’s Madison Square Garden last night (October 23).
The band played an energetic 21-song set at the iconic arena, which marked the first time the band had ever played at the Manhattan venue. After an opening set from Courtney Barnett, the band’s arrival was heralded by a medley of ice cream van jingles, before the four piece strode onstage with frontman Damon Albarn spraying the band with water.
Opening with ‘Go Out’ from 2015 comeback album ‘The Magic Whip’ and following it with debut album song ‘There’s No Other Way’, Blur then played ‘Lonesome Street’. Albarn spoke to the enthusiastic crowd, referencing their first appearance at the venue, saying: “This feels good. It’s only taken us 25 years to get here, but as I keep telling myself, better late than never!” Following up with ‘Parklife’ track ‘Badhead’, he commented: “Tonight for us is about saying thank you.”
Later in the set, Blur played a rousing version of ’13’ opener ‘Tender’, with Albarn taking a shot at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during the song’s outro, singing “Don’t fall for Donald Trump/because he’s a chump.” As the lights switched on at the end of the song, the frontman sarcastically commented “democracy, right?”
Though the band managed to enlist comedian Fred Armisen to perform ‘Parklife’ with them at their Hollywood Bowl show earlier this week, there was no such name at the New York appearance. “We had terrible problems getting someone to perform this song with us tonight,” said Albarn. “I wish I could now announce Mike Myers but I can’t and Fred was brilliant but he’s got a wedding tonight so he can’t come.” Instead the band introduced a selection of young gig goers, with one teenager impressively taking the first verse of the song, before Albarn took over.
The set finished with an emotion version of ‘This Is A Low’ with Albarn telling the crowd “Thank you so much, you’re beautiful.” They returned for an encore, with Albarn adding yet more thanks, stating: “This city has always been my favourite stop in America, it’s a fucking beautiful city and it’s always a privilege to play here.” They closed out with ‘Stereotypes’, ‘Girls and Boys’, ‘For Tomorrow’ and ‘The Universal’, as Albarn commented: “So Friday night at Madison Square Garden is something to remember for me for the rest of my life.”
‘There’s No Other Way’
‘End of a Century’
‘Coffee and TV’
‘Out Of Time’
‘Country Sad Ballad Man’
‘Thought I Was A Spaceman’
‘To The End’
‘This Is A Low’
‘Girls and Boys’