Friday, June 18, 2010

TOUR REVIEW: 2009 Reunion Tour

In honoring the one year anniversary of Blur's magical tour from last summer, this review will focus on the shows they played last summer in June and July 2009. After six years of inactivity and no hope among fans they'd ever get back together, Blur reunited in December of 2008 and announced a show at London's Hyde Park on July 3rd, 2009. The response was so great that they added a second show on July 2nd and later expanded it into a full scale tour, including appearances at some major summer festivals, the centerpiece of which was Glastonbury.

The tour dates are below (available recordings highlighted):

June 2009:

13th - East Anglian Railway Museum, Colchester, UK
15th - Rough Trade East, London, UK
20th - Brixton Academy, London, UK
21st - Cliffs Pavilion, Southend, UK
22nd - Goldsmiths College, London, UK
24th - Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, UK
25th - O2 Academy, Newcastle, UK
26th - M.E.N. Arena, Manchester, UK
28th - Glastonbury Festival, UK

July 2009:

2nd - Hyde Park, London, UK

3rd - Hyde Park, London, UK
5th - Les Nuits De Fourvière Festival, Lyon, France
10th - Oxegen Festival, Ireland
12th - T In The Park Festival, Scotland, UK

Regarding recordings, all of the available shows are complete audience tapes except for the two Hyde Park shows (commercially available as official releases), Glastonbury (taken from the TV broadcast, incomplete), T in the Park (incomplete, taken from TV). The Colchester, Rough Trade, Goldsmiths, and Newcastle gigs are mostly complete and cobbled together from various audience video sources.

The interesting thing about this tour is that the way it was set up was a geographical and chronological summation of Blur's history, starting where they played their first ever gig (in Colchester), moving to where they met up in London (Goldsmiths) and moving on through important places to the band (Wolverhampton, where Smoggy and Stu are from), Manchester, Glastonbury, and leading eventually to Hyde Park for two massive outdoor shows, playing in front of 50,000+ people each night.

The set list was:

She's So High
Girls & Boys
Tracy Jacks
There's No Other Way
Trimm Trabb
Coffee & TV
Country House
Charmless Man
Colin Zeal
Oily Water
Chemical World
Sunday Sunday
End Of A Century
To The End
This Is A Low
Song 2
Out Of Time
Battery In Your Leg
Essex Dogs
Death of a Party
For Tomorrow
The Universal

The interesting songs are highlighted...sadly, they didn't last long in the set...Colin Zeal was only played on the first night in Colchester, Charmless Man was dropped after Brixton Academy, and Essex Dogs and Battery in Your Leg were dropped after Southend. After those songs were dropped, the set list remained the same throughout the tour, with the exception of T in the Park (more on that later). Death of a Party was added for the Hyde Park shows and remained there throughout the balance of the tour.

One thing that was obvious is that the guys were still on top of their game in terms of their musicianship, turning in top-notch, high-energy performances and conveying onstage they were having a LOT of fun! It's hard not to get misty-eyed listening to The Universal, for example, when spinning the Hyde Park show, or getting pumped up and jumping around during Tracy Jacks...the shows were that good!

The Rough Trade show was a secret show announced on the radio right before the concert, so tickets were hard to come by. The Brixton Academy show was invite-only for family and friends, while the Manchester show was the only arena show on the tour (and funnily enough, the only one that didn't sell out!). After the Hyde Park shows, Blur played a show in France and a massive festival in Ireland, which leads us to their final show in Scotland. The T in the Park show nearly didn't happen, as Graham got food poisoning and was rushed to the hospital hours before the show and nearly didn't make it back. Luckily, he was able to play, although they shortened the set because of this.

Still, all in all, this was a wonderful and magical tour that not only brought Blur's music to their fans once more, but brought together Blur fans from around the world, both at the gigs and online (many of the good friends I've made abroad were due to our online excitement, discussions, and sharing of experiences during last summer)...I think it's safe to say it holds a special place in the hearts of MANY Blur fans for a variety of reasons, all of them positive!

I'd love to hear a complete Glastonbury or some audience tapes of the shows that are only available from poor quality audience video...not only would it be very enjoyable, but it would help flesh out the story of this tour more. If you have any or know someone who does, let me know privately!

In the meantime, keep enjoying the music and the memories...I know I will!

And I will try to get the Southend show up this the meantime, the Glastonbury show is HERE.


  1. Not to be picky, but the July 3rd show was actually announced before the July 2nd show. These things matter to some people, after all!

  2. You are correct! I knew I had it backwards...I fixed it. Thanks for catching that!

  3. thx so much, but i am so dawdler ;p i have southed (we can find it on dimadozen)so please but another show (but no hyde parks :P)

  4. It should be noted that 'Battery in your Leg' was on the setlist at Goldsmiths, however they just skipped over it. I suspect probably because it was so hot an sweaty in there, and the band were looking to get off stage. Graham had buckets of sweat falling off of his guitar, splashing everywhere.

  5. Is might be my memory failing me, but didn't "Death of a Party" get a few airings late in the tour?

    Many thanks for the blog, any chance of getting the Wolves show from this tour up at some point?

  6. Thanks for the clarification on Battery at Goldsmiths! Regarding Death of a Party, yes, it was a regular song toward the end of the set from about the mid point on to the end.

    Regarding sharing out some shows, a lot of the ones I have directly from the taper they've asked me not to share, and I have to respect their wishes (otherwise they won't share in the future). Eventually they may give me permission and when they do, I might be able to but right now, I can't as I will not betray their wishes...hope you all understand!

  7. I wouldn't be surprised if the band taped all of the UK shows themselves. There are 9 different shows represented on the Sunday Times CD that was given out. Too bad they'll probably never leak.

  8. Yes, I know for a fact all the shows up to and including Hyde Park were recorded (I'm working on it, trust me!) :-)

  9. One year on from Hyde Park... I've been 'celebrating' the anniversary by listening to the CD from start to finish from around the time Blur came on stage.

    I can't believe it's been a year.