blur at hyde park

The main reason we had planned this trip to Britain was to see Blur, who Feraz loves. The concert was part of the closing ceremonies in London (not to be confused with the main closing ceremonies concert) and was held at Hyde Park. The sold out concert drew more than 80,000 fans! Because of this, Feraz kept making me prepare like we were going to Hajj. He wouldn’t let me take anything nice with me and even tried to make me take an extra pair of shoes in case I lost mine!
I got the gold! One of the first things we did was check out Cadbury Village.
We got to Hyde Park really early and checked out the grounds. We were one of the first people to get there so we had time to comfortably check everything out. There were tons of food stands, water stations and toilets everywhere. Oh, the toilets! They were amazing. They were like proper bathrooms and the event staff was doing such a great job of keeping everything clean and stocked. When I am going to be outside for twelve hours, I feel much better knowing that I can pee comfortably!
Watching Britain win its last gold medal of the 2012 games.

 The music didn’t start until 4:30 so we had some time to kill. We didn’t want to be all the way at the front because we thought it might get too crazy for our taste so we pitched a spot a little bit further back.  They had the last finals of the Olympics going. I was dozing in and out but woke up to the cheers of all the Brits when Anthony Joshua won the last gold medal for them.

Bicycle Bombay Club got things going and I really loved them. I feel like I always appreciate the band I wasn’t going to see because I have no expectation of them and that way when they are good its like you won a contest you didn’t even enter. 

New Order were next to go on and I was really looking forward to seeing them. But when they came out, it felt really awkward. They are just so old now and it felt like they weren’t able to keep up. I felt so bad for Peter Hook because he looked genuinely tired just a few songs in. It was like watching your grandpa work long after he should have been retired. But! Then things changed and they found their groove and the music really picked up. It was great from that point on and we were dancing so hard that you hardly noticed that Gillian Gilbert now looks like one of the scary aunts from My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

I don’t have pictures that capture how unbelievably happy Feraz was but hopefully I’ll be able to upload a video showing him going nuts. Here he is wiping away a tear while watching New Order.

New Order ended their set with Love Will Tear Us Apart. It was really touching.

Forever Joy Division. 🙁

The Specials were on next. I don’t know them at all but their were tons of fans in the crowd. They seemed to play all their biggest hits too because the crowd sang along throughout and got really really pumped. Feraz was telling me that they they really did a lot for race relations and Wikipedia told me “According to Dammers, anti-racism was intrinsic to the formation of The Specials, in that the band was formed with the goal of integrating black and white people. Many years later Dammers stated, “Music gets political when there are new ideas in music, …punk was innovative, so was ska, and that was why bands such as The Specials and The Clash could be political.””
My favorite song was Doesn’t Make it All Right. 
Just because you’re nobody
It doesn’t mean that you’re no good
Just because there’s a reason
It doesn’t mean it’s understood

It doesn’t make it alright
It doesn’t make it alright
It’s the worst excuse in the world
And it, it doesn’t make it alright 

While we waited for Blur to come on, the screens were used to show a video montage of the Olympics. There were highlights of all the best moments for the British athletes and the crowd was going nuts. It was great to see all the pride for the athletes and the pride that the Brits had about putting on such a great Olympics. Everyone was cheering and celebrating as different athletes came on. It was great to be part of that energy.

And then… there was Blur!!

The show was so incredible. Damon Albarn is such a a brilliant front man and he played with so much heart and love. There are some rumors that this was Blur’s last concert and that may explain why the band was so emotional and why they played with so much incredible energy. (Maybe they always do? I don’t know, this was my first Blur show!) 
Blur played under a makeshift Westway. Both the set and the setlist were amazing. They started off with Boys and Girls and played some of the greats like Song 2, Country Home, Parklife and Sunday Sunday.
Damon also asked everyone to take a moment to remember Syria who wasn’t able to be at the games and there was a moment of silence. They then played Out of Time featuring the aud player Khyam Allani. Just when you thought you couldn’t love these guys more!

Alex James looking as young as ever. Cheese farming seems to be the fountain of youth.

My favorite song of the night was Tender. Damon kept letting the audience take it over. My favorite part of being at such a huge show is the energy of the crowd and that incredible feeling you get when tens of thousands of people are singing together to a song that meant something really special to each of them.

Since we were up so close, we only really got a sense of how massive the crowd was when they would show them on the screens. Evidently there was a sound delay by the time the music reached the back so when Damon would call out to them, it would take them a while to respond! I’ve also read reviews that say fans were complaining about not being able to hear. I guess they had to lower the sound because of noise complaints in the past. At least they didn’t have to shut it down like the Springsteen concert a little while back!

Damon was so emotional at parts!

Blur closed with the Universal and Damon mimed and held back tears as the crowd sang, “Yes it really really could happen.” Even after Blur left the stage, the crowd sang a few more choruses. The mutual love was so apparent and made it an unforgettable concert. 

As one journalist put it, “Modern life might be rubbish, but for one night it was perfect.”

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