Albarn was joined on stage with Dave Rowntree, Alex James and Graham Coxon; the group performed ‘Tender’, ‘Clover Over Dover’ and ‘Song 2’. It was the first time ‘Clover Over Dover’ had been performed live.
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The band came onto stage at around 10:30 during Albarn’s ‘Africa Express’ gig which brings together musicians from around the globe. The gig formed part of the celebrations to mark Waltham Forest being named as the London Borough of Culture 2019.
The shows, which have run since 2006, are known for the long length and surprise guests. Previous performers at the show include Paul McCartney, Paul Weller and Johnny Marr alongside famed African musicians including Baaba Maal, Oumou Sangaré and Fatoumata Diawara.
Blur were accompanied by the London Community Gospel Choir and Rokia Traoré for ‘Tender’.
You can see videos, images and more reaction to the gig here:
Hello. There’s Blur playing Song 2 in Leytonstone. pic.twitter.com/yaErwvLzUB
— Greg Cochrane (@GregCochrane) March 29, 2019
— Damon Albarn Unofficial (@DamonUnofficial) March 29, 2019
Blur rehearsals for Africa Express: the Circus, last Thursday. That awkward moment when one of Africa Express musicians almost ruined the surprise by posting this photo on Instagram.@blurofficial @Damonalbarn @grahamcoxon @TheAlexJames @DaveRowntree @africaexpress pic.twitter.com/tdT1Bm9bRC
— Damon Albarn Unofficial (@DamonUnofficial) March 30, 2019
I couldn’t concentrate on anything today, knowing this was happening!!
Blur reunion spell! ⚡️⚡️⚡️ pic.twitter.com/JzxzjPTtRU
— Andy Martin (@PDXAndyGuitar) March 30, 2019
— Leyton Jack (@Leytonite) March 29, 2019
Here’s Blur reuniting in Leytonstone last night pic.twitter.com/fbAXDpFzj5
— James Palmer (@DuffPalm) March 30, 2019
— Binita ⚡️ (@Tspaceinbetween) March 29, 2019
— Maarit. (@dumbsaints) March 29, 2019
Blur playing at the Africa Express show. Unexpected! pic.twitter.com/1TROmKJ9dO
— Steven Johnson (@_SPJ_) March 29, 2019
— Jonathan Dean (@JonathanDean_) March 30, 2019
— BlurMex (@BlurMex) March 29, 2019
Other artists booked to perform last night included Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell, Gruff Rhys from Super Furry Animals, Mali’s Rokia Traoré and Moonchild Sanelly from South Africa.
Speaking about the event to the Evening Standard ahead of the gig, Albarn said the date of the gig was chosen deliberately as it was meant to coincide with the date the UK left the EU.
He said: “It seems to me that the principle of getting everyone together in the same room and talking is the most important thing. Music can do what politics can’t do. Politics can’t make people laugh and cry in a good way.
“It’s become such an emotional thing and it needs to be wrestled back to the professionals of the emotional forum — musicians and singers.”
It’s not the first time Albarn has spoken out about Brexit. Last year, he lent his name to the backing of a public-led forum in order to ‘break the Brexit deadlock’.
Albarn was among the signatories on a new letter calling for a new initiative that puts power in the hands of citizens rather than politicians – to ‘bring Britain together rather than falling apart in constitutional chaos’.