Gorillaz were joined onstage for the first of their two special London shows tonight (April 29) by a host of guests from across their three albums.
Despite the global nature of their collaborations, Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett were able to recruit the likes of Bobby Womack, De La Soul, Shaun Ryder and Super Furry Animals‘ Gruff Rhys to Camden‘s Roundhouse.
The band were accompanied by a series of Jamie Hewlett‘s visuals, which were present throughout the whole show.
The Gorillaz band were all in nautical attire – including The Clash‘s Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, both sporting sailors hats, on guitar and bass. They were joined by strings and backing singers as they kicked off with ‘Welcome To The World Of The Plastic Beach’, with Snoop Dogg‘s rap delivered via a specially commissioned video.
Albarn, who began the gig on keyboards, then took centre stage, taking the vocals on the ‘Demon Days’ track ‘Last Living Souls’, before returning to the back of the stage for ‘O Green World’, and then taking up a guitar for ‘On Melancholy Hill’.
The collective then introduced their first guests of the night, as Mos Def and Womack took to the stage to loud applause for ‘Stylo’.
Albarn was later joined by Little Dragon‘s Yukimi Nagano for ‘Empire Ants’. Bootie Brown then made an appearance rapping on ‘Dirty Harry’, before the Syrian National Orchestra were brought out for ‘White Flag’ with Kano and Bashy supplying vocals after an extended intro.
De La Soul then made their first appearance of the night, sharing the stage with Gruff Rhys for ‘Superfast Jellyfish’. They were followed by Shaun Ryder and the ‘real life’ Noodle, singer Rosie Wilson, for a crowd pleasing version of their 2005 UK Number One single ‘Dare’.
‘Glitter Freeze’ was performed next without The Fall‘s Mark E Smith – though he is expected for the gig at the same venue tomorrow – while later soul legend Womack returned for a moving rendition of ‘Cloud Of Unknowning’, after which he thanked the crowd.
Little Dragon‘s Nagano then came back to duet with Albarn on ‘To Binge’, while De La Soul returned for ‘Feel Good Inc’.
The group then rounded the show off with a bass heavy version of 2001 single ‘Clint Eastwood’.
‘Welcome To The World Of The Plastic Beach’
‘Last Living Souls’
‘O Green World’
‘On Melancholy Hill’
‘Kids With Guns’
‘Cloud Of Unknowing’
‘Feel Good Inc’
Gorillaz play the Roundhouse again tomorrow night (April 30).
See next week’s NME for a behind-the-scenes report from the shows.