Wednesday, May 19, 2010

TOUR REVIEW: Fall UK tour of 1991

While 1989 and 1990 saw the young Blur touring sporadically, 1991 saw them settling into the grueling tour schedule they'd follow for the next 8 years (with the exception of 1998's lay-off). At this point they had three singles released (She's So High, There's No Other Way, and Bang), one of which brought them early fame (There's No Other Way, which reached #8 in the charts) and their first album, Leisure, which again was reviewed very favorably in the press. By the time the fall of 1991 came around, Blur were on a roll and touring heavily. The tour dates are below (available recordings are highlighted):

October 1991:

4th - Town Hall, Middlesbrough, UK
5th - Octagon, Sheffield, UK
7th - McGonagle's, Dublin, Ireland
8th - Mandela Hall, Belfast, North Ireland
10th - Leicester University, Leicester, UK
11th - University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
12th - Manchester Academy, Manchester, UK
14th - Institute, Birmingham, UK
15th - Liverpool University, Liverpool, UK
17th - Fnac/Les Inrockuptibles Festival, Lyon, France
18th - Fnac/Les Inrockuptibles Festival, Lille, France
19th - Fnac/Les Inrockuptibles Festival, Paris, France
21st - Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
22nd - Leeds Polytechnic, Leeds, UK
23rd - Corn Exchange, Cambridge, UK
24th - Kilburn National Ballroom, London, UK

As you can see, this UK tour included a three-day jaunt to France to appear at a festival. The typical set list was:

High Cool
Bad Day
Oily Water
Slow Down
There's No Other Way
Turn It Up
She's So High
Wear Me Down
Come Together
Day Upon Day
Commercial Break

In addition to playing the bulk of Leisure onstage, some new material was previewed as well during this period, including Popscene (which would be the next single) and Oily Water. More new songs would be added to the set in early 1992. It's also nice to hear great b-sides like Explain and Day Upon Day in the set, as these would disappear once 1992 rolled around and more songs that would eventually end up on Modern Life is Rubbish were added to the set.

Immediately after the final show in London, Blur headed to America for their first US tour...this UK tour sees them hitting their stride and playing with confidence, so much so that by the time they get to the USA, they're firing on all cylinders.

There are so many shows from this tour that are not only not available on recordings, but it's even unknown whether more exist. If they do, please contact me privately. It would be fascinating to piece together more from this tour, especially earlier on when it began!


  1. Les Inrocks Festival isn't really a typical festival. You can have normal show with a band and an opening band at a venue like the Bataclan
    Les inrocks are a magazine of culture, and it's taste are often like the Nme (good OR bad...)

  2. Interesting...have you been to it before (or even this one in 1991)? Is it more like Glastonbury, for example, in terms of attractions other than music?

  3. I've seen a band in 2006, but for Blur in 1991 I was only 2 :(
    It is not a Glastonbury type, and it happens in October so it is only in different indoor venues. (from 300 to 6500 (not full) capacity)
    The "festival" happens on 1 week and the same bands can play 3-4 different towns in France.
    You can have 4-5 new bands playing on the same stage in a venue. Or only one and an opening band, when it is well-known enough.

    They have quite indie tastes, and present bands before they became really well-known, they have a flair for it . (quite the point with Blur :) in the past they also had The Libertines, Franz Ferdinand and many others just after the realesae of their first album)
    You pay for every gig you go to, no pass.
    Last october, they had Florence & the Machine, Two Doors Cinema Club, Bat for Lashes and many others.

    I hope it isn't too confusing...

  4. Very interesting! Thanks for the information, it's very informative!

    Did you enjoy it in 2006?

  5. Here is last december programmation :
    I've seen better and worse so...
    Well I was 17, and paid my brother's ticket to come with me, to see Babyshambles (...) because I was quite afraid of the reaction of the audience...which was known as "fanatic" and still is... I don't remember it very well, it was the 4th concert of my life, and quite a chaotic one. The opening band was Larrikin Love (who has split since who was nice).

    I'm really happy/proud they had Blur, the only foreign country to "receive" them in 1991 :)

  6. EDIT : oups, they've been to another foreign country : the USA..

  7. Yes, the USA :-)

    Thanks for the links! I'll check them out

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  9. I saw the Inrockuptibles gig in October 1991. There were two shows, both in the evening at La Cigalle in Paris. The first (18th) featured Ride, World of Twist and Ocean Colour Scene. Blur appeared the next day, along with Pulp and headliners Lush. I saw both gigs with a friend - we were fashion students supposed to be at Paris fashion week shows - but sneaked off to be indie kids instead...

    I remember the venue seeming very glamorous and decadent, and the huge energy generated by Damon and the band.

    It was the first time we'd come across Pulp - Jarvis wore an enormous sheepskin coat, he must have been boiling hot. He greeted everyone in French. We were fairly nonplussed.

    The next day, we saw Pulp checking out of our hotel. I ran down and took a photo, have very unfortunately lost it somewhere in the long intervening years!

  10. ps - still have Paris tickets, and for The Gardens in Fulham, London, 17 December 1992. Will send scans.