Live Shot

Damon Albarn
Damon Albarn


Frank Erwin Center, Oct. 22

For the last decade, Gorillaz existed only in two dimensions: an illustrated supergroup – Murdoc, Russel, 2D, and Noodle – scripted by comic strip hero and Tank Girl visionary Jamie Hewlett, and a real-life, revolving-door musical equivalent led by Damon Albarn. On Friday night at a sold out Frank Erwin Center, the Blur frontman took them both 3-D. Over the course of two hours, Albarn served as master of ceremonies, backing vocalist ("Dirty Harry"), piano balladeer ("El Mañana"), and perennial rock-star showman, bounding about the stage in spastic, joyous tantrums even more animated than his cartoon counterparts. From the massive LED screen backdrop, Snoop Dogg opened with "Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach," a virtual preamble to the grand, interactive spectacle that followed. Gorillaz delivered Brit-pop theatre with a cast that included the eight-member Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and, for the instrumental suite that opened "White Flag," the American Syrian Orchestra. That's not counting the sevenpiece house band, anchored by the nautical command and stadium showmanship of the Clash's guitarist Mick Jones and bassist Paul Simonon, or the parade of special guests, including Rosie Wilson ("Dare") and Little Dragon's Yukimi Nagano (1950s-style twee duet "To Binge"), that breathed considerable life into the group's third pirate fantasy, Plastic Beach, which was accounted for almost in its entirety. De La Soul devoured the frosted delight of "Superfast Jellyfish" and capitalized in the five-song encore with standout "Feel Good Inc.," while London's Kano and Bashy followed suit with alternate verses for the Gorillaz's breakthrough "Clint Eastwood." The real treat proved the resurrection of eternal Midnight Mover Bobby Womack, who testified with scared intensity in the Bootie Brown-assisted "Stylo." For all parties involved, Gorillaz delivered a massive coming-out party, Albarn's new world order for these "Demon Days."

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