Blur’s The Magic Whip Was Part Conceived In Melbourne - Noise11.com
Blur at Rod Laver Arena photo by Ros O'Gorman. music news, noise11.com

Blur at Rod Laver Arena photo by Ros O'Gorman

Blur’s The Magic Whip Was Part Conceived In Melbourne

by Paul Cashmere on July 29, 2015

in Live,News

Damon Albarn told Blur’s Melbourne fans that parts of ‘The Magic Whip’ were conceived in Melbourne.

“A lot of people think the album was written in Hong Kong but it’s not true, said Albarn. “Some songs I had written in Melbourne before I went to Hong Kong, in fact.”

The origins of ‘The Magic Whip’ began in 2013 when Blur found themselves in Hong Kong with five days off when the Tokyo Rocks Music festival was cancelled. Those seasons generated the template of 15 new Blur songs.

A year later Blur guitarist Graham Coxon began shifting through the recordings with producer Stephen Street. Meanwhile, Albarn was about to head to Australia for solo gigs. Blur members Alex James and Dave Rowntree joined Coxon to go through the sessions while Albarn started work on new lyrics when he was in Melbourne on his solo tour.

In January 2015, the band got back together with Street to add the completed vocals to the existing recordings.

The day after Albarn reactivated into songwriter mode he travelled to Sydney were terror struck. A lone gunman held 18 people hostage in the Lindt Café siege. Albarn’s Sydney show, scheduled at the Sydney Opera House just blocks away, was postponed. Albarn continued to write. The result is ‘The Magic Whip’ song ‘There Are Too Many Of Us’.

Albarn later told NME, “I was there the day they had the hostage situation in the chocolate shop, which was an extraordinary thing to witness. I was staying in a hotel where I could literally see what was going on outside and watch it on television.”

“I’ve never been in that position before, and as a songwriter that was a very interesting standpoint to have. To be seeing something on TV, and then out the window it’s happening. Seeing the reality of what was happening and how it was being distorted through the prism of [the camera] was kind of fascinating.”

‘There Are Too Many Of Us’ has not been performed on the Australian tour.

The last time Blur played in Melbourne was on November 1, 1997 at Monash University. 18 years later they return for the upgrade, to Rod Laver Arena.

The Melbourne setlist mirrored Sydney’s show last week with the exception of the impromptu ‘My Terracotta Heart’, played for the first time in Australia on this tour.

The setlist was predominately a span of the entire Blur career focused on the best songs rather than the biggest.

Blur haven’t had that many hits in Australia so it was a surprise to find tracks like ‘Country House’ and ‘Charmless Man’ left off the list. Of the six Top 40 hits they have had in Australia only ‘Song 2’ made the Top 10 and only four of the six, the others being ‘Girls & Boys’ (no 19, 1994) ‘Beetlebum’ (no 35, 1996) and ‘Tender’ (no 32, 1999) were played.

The setlist made sense to real fans who know the albums, not the GOLDFM fans who only know the radio songs. ‘The seven songs played from ‘The Magic Whip’ gave the show relevance, while the others gave the fans a reminder of why they loved the band in the first place.

Blur, along with Oasis, rejuvenated British rock in the 90s. It would bot have been right to see them doing the ‘Oldies but Goldies’ type of show. They gave fans the right show for 2015.

Blur, Melbourne, June 28 2015 SETLIST

Go Out (from The Magic Whip, 2015)
There’s No Other Way (from Leisure, 1991)
Lonesome Street (from The Magic Whip, 2015)
Badhead (from Parklife, 1994)
Ghost Ship (from The Magic Whip, 2015)
Coffee & TV (from 13, 1999)
Out Of Time (from Think Tank, 2003)
Beetlebum (from Blur, 1997)
Thought I Was A Spaceman (from The Magic Whip, 2015)
Trimm Trabb (from 13, 1999)
My Terracotta Heart (from The Magic Whip, 2015)
Tender (from 13, 1999)
Trouble In The Message Centre (from Parklife, 1994)
Parklife (from Parklife, 1994)
Ong Ong (from The Magic Whip, 2015)
Song 2 (from Blur, 1997)
Pyongyang (from The Magic Whip, 2015)
To The End (from Parklife, 1994)
This Is A Low (from Parklife, 1994)

Stereotypes (from The Great Escape, 1995)
Girls & Boys (from Parklife, 1994)
For Tomorrow (from Modern Life Is Rubbish, 1993)
The Universal (from The Great Escape, 1995)

Blur will perform one more show in Perth at Perth Arena on Thursday 30 July, 2015.

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