Gorillaz released a new song and fascinated San Francisco fans

At some point during the victory San Francisco At the Gorillaz World Tour stop on Wednesday night, Britpop icon and multi-faceted maestro Damon Albarn pulled off a 6-foot golden horn.

“This thing is special,” he said. “Everyone close your eyes. I only blow it up on special nights when I know the fans are ready to receive it.”

After the great concert that rang out on the rafters at Chase Center, the virtual and real band took off in one of the most irresistible canyons, “Stylo,” and 15,000 people danced.

Damon Albarn many things. ’90s Pinup Teenager, Indie Champion, opera composersuper group leader, Celebrity Beef Maker and founder of a virtual band that dominates the world. But to me it will always be my introduction to alternative music when I bought my first cassette tape with my money on a rainy English Main Street at the age of twelve. full type They began Blur’s tenure as one of England’s biggest and most popular bands with a string of six albums topping the UK charts.

Far from the hockey favorite, “Song 2”, Blur has never made its way into the US mainstream like its more commercial British counterpart. bad play. But Albarn’s creation of experimental virtual band Gorillaz in 2001 with comic book artist Jamie Hewlett broke every mold.

The ever-evolving array of collaborators and guests centered around Albarn has ranged from Grace Jones to Elton John to Doja Cat to former members of The Clash to Tame Impala to De La Soul over the years.

On Wednesday night, a giant screen behind the stage revealed the virtual universe created by Hewlett, with members of 2-D animators Murdoc, Noodle and Hobbs doing their digital work. Against that backdrop, the actual band with the backing vocal quintet was the Humanz Chorus as if their lives depended on it.

Albarn, dressed in a white denim jacket, black shirt, and gold chain, swayed with a circular smile, and it only took three songs before he lost his jacket and launched himself into the crowd, causing some logistical difficulties for his security and his voice. men.

The attacker somehow didn’t lose the evil energy he saw Scaling of PA speakers and lighting devices And his body has been shooting around the stage like a rag doll since 1991.

Outside of the Golden Horn, his high ginkgo at Chase Center included jogging through the crowd losing lights and camera, grabbing a cheerful fan’s phone and shouting at the livestream and donning a fan’s dayglow hat (something that’s become a tradition on the tour).

“I’ve always wanted to be Elton John,” said Albarn, sitting at the piano playing an abstract version of “O Green World,” in the sparkling hat and glasses.

Damon Albarn of Gorillas performs at Chase Center Wednesday in San Francisco.

Damon Albarn of Gorillas performs at Chase Center Wednesday in San Francisco.

Steve Jennings / Getty Images

The first half of the group neglected the hip-hop component that had been a huge part of the group’s success. All of the members, dressed in light pink matching Hewlett art for the upcoming album “Cracker Island” (scheduled to feature Stevie Nicks and Bad Bunny, among others), transitioned from punk (“White Light”) to Electronica (“Rhinestone”). Eyes”) to one of the most beautiful songs Albarn ever wrote, “On Melancholy Hill.”

The funk created by the rhythm section of the early single “19-2000” was so exciting that it got Albarn spinning to compete with Flea’s Viral trough writhing It happened a few blocks away, as the Red Hot Chili Peppers team hosted a very different group of tech workers at Dreamforce in Oracle Park.

The band then presented the world premiere of a new song influenced, through thick and thin, by the Gulf region.

“This is a new song. It was inspired in part by one of those cool things that came out of Silicon Valley.” The Amazon robot that goes the way and delivers stuff. It’s something we don’t get on my remote little island. Until now. I saw one, and it inspired me.”

It’s rare for a new song to receive the kind of love that Skinny Ape’s debut at Chase Center did. From the premise of a delicate duel between guitarist Jeff Wootton and guitarist Seye Adelekan to the sensational predicament, “Don’t feel sad for me…”

At the end, the crowd was somehow singing in unison, “I’m a skinny little monkey ape,” to Albarn’s apparent delight, because he probably realized there that he had written another hit.

Despite occasional public feuds between Albarn and other musicians, from the epic and largely contrived rivalry with Oasis in the 1990s to his being The last target of Swiftie’s wrath, the man’s disarming smile and aging charm arouse a tremendous amount of goodwill from anyone in his presence. Crowds ranged from neon-clad teens to Millennial Blur fans like myself to some Dreamforce, and they were all in the palm of his hands as he climbed over barricades and raised his arms in the air in both glory and thanksgiving.

The group’s roster rescued hip-hop and songwriting for the second half, moving to a cheerful procession of guest singers, with Albarn running the entire party below the perfectly synchronized animator band.

De La Soul’s Pos led the crowd into a spoken word, a cult-like hymn “I will never allow anyone to tell me what to think, I will not allow anyone to tell me what to say, I will not allow anyone to tell me what to do…unless it’s Damon Albarn I feel powerful, I feel confident and… I feel good,” driving the audience and the band into a frenzy, with Gorillaz delivering their biggest hit, “Feel Good Inc.”

Michelle Ndigwa captured the sound of exploding bullets in “Kids With Guns,” Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker almost appeared in “New Gold” and Bootie Brown joined “Stylo” with the late Bobby Womack on screen behind him, before a special finale with one of the members of the Oakland King.

Damon Albarn and Gorillas performed on stage at Oyjäfestivalen on August 10 in Oslo, Norway.

Damon Albarn and Gorillas performed on stage at Oyjäfestivalen on August 10 in Oslo, Norway.

Per Ole Hagen/Redferns

“Musicians from the Bay Area have been instrumental to us. One I won’t name,” Albarn had quipped earlier, before finally revealing, “The creator, the sole, Del the Funky Homosapien.”

The Oakland rapper then joined on stage for “Rock the House” and “Clint Eastwood,” the band’s debut single he sang in 2001, in an enthusiastic finale for the group.

I walked out of the auditorium under the giant screen of Warriors in Thrive City Square with thousands of smiling attendees, as happy and dazzled by the music as I did when I discovered the genius of Albarn decades ago.

The Gorillaz World Tour moves to two dates in Los Angeles over the weekend. Find details about Gorillaz’s website.

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