VF EXCLUSIVE – Blur’s Live London Return

The first report from the first London show by Reading headliners Blur in their five night residency at London's Astoria. Once again we are first with exclusive live photos and coverage from the gig.

[l-zone1]Blur wowed fans with their first London gig in two years at a packed Astoria in London’s west end last night. Their first UK show without former lead guitarist Graham Coxon, the remaining trio played with former Verve man Simon Tong on guitar, along with a keyboardist and a couple of female backing singers.

[r-zone2]The capacity crowd was treated to a clutch of songs from new LP Think Tank, as well as heap of older tracks, including ‘Girls And Boys‘ and ‘Beetlebum‘. They also played several rarer albums tracks, including ‘Trimm Trabb‘ and ‘Badhead‘, as well as classic oldies like ‘Popscene‘ and ‘For Tomorrow‘. There was a fantastic vibe around the theatre, the true feeling the same people, all eight years older.

[l-zone3]Damon Albarn seemed in good spirits too, despite appearing to lash out at a photographer (not me!!) at the front of stage early on in the concert. Playing acoustic guitar for much of the gig, briefly tampering with electrics and keyboards with vocal effects, it was an incredibly strong set of songs with a great balance between old an new. ‘How’s the new album after four days?‘ Albarn quipped.

[r-zone4]’Crazy Beat‘, Think Tank’s ‘Song 2’ equivalent, and the Coxon inspired ‘We’ve Got A File On You‘ (which they played twice) were the best received of the new material. Graham’s name only came up once when Damon announced, ‘I got married last week. Graham came along and we had a really good time. Sometimes you get along and sometimes you just don’t.

[l-zone5]Simon Tong, who is reputed to have taught Richard Ashcorft his first guitar chords, stayed to the back left of the stage in the same way as Graham would. Sonically, there was no noticeable difference, even on tracks like ‘Song 2‘ and the new album finale ‘Battery In Your Leg‘ (the only track that Coxon features on). The band’s residency at the Astoria goes on until next Tuesday, during which they have promised to play a varied selection of tracks. Blur have confirmed a selection of festival appearances, including Reading and Leeds in UK, and Benicassim in Spain. You can buy your tickets here.

For the most up-to-date Blur photo gallery on the internet, with shots from this gig and their recent performance at Coachella click here.


  • Ambulance

  • Moroccan Peoples Revolutionary Bowls Club

  • Out Of Time

  • Beetlebum

  • Girls And Boys

  • Good Song

  • Badhead

  • Gene By Gene

  • Topman

  • For Tomorrow

  • Brothers And Sisters

  • Crazy Beat

  • Song 2

  • Trimm Trabb

  • Battery In Your Leg

  • Popscene

  • On The Way To The Club

  • We’ve Got A File On You (played twice)

  • This Is A Low