The Amazing World of Si Hart

Amazing insights into my mind as I battle against the inefficient world of the library, moderate a message board, write Doctor Who audio adventures and try and stay sane!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

50000 People Singing in a Field- Blur in Hyde Park

It didn't bode well. The day started overcast; grey clouds hanging in an gloomy sky and compared to the previous few days, there was a slight nip in the air. Were shorts still going to be the best option? Should we pack the waterproofs just in case? After our last experience at a concert in Hyde Park it might have been the prudent thing to do if we looked back at the torrential downpour that ended the Crowded House set a little earlier than planned...

But it all worked out fine. It was still overcast as we set off, but wasn't looking too bad as we met up with Neil and Kate (lovely to finally meet her!) at Green Park and then as we walked in Hyde Park patches of blue were evident in the sky. By the time the first band came on, Deerhoof, the sun was shining and it stayed that way for the rest of the evening! I'm rather glad we weren't there the previous day when the sun was strong and the temps reached 31 degrees- it would have been uncomfortable to say the least. Our afternoon was far more bearable, though I did wear my hat to keep the sun off. I don't do that often!

Anyway, the Hyde Park experience is one we've done before. Simon and Garfunkel pretending to be Old Friends in 2004, REM rocking in 2005 (just after the 7th July bombing) and the afore-mentioned The Feeling/ Crowded House and Peter Gabriel gig in 2007. It's like a mini-festival and there's always been a good atmosphere there before. I have to admit though that none of them have close to the sense of occasion that was palpable yesterday. Seeing Crowded House play again was definitely a magic moment for me, but it wasn't on the scale of yesterday. In fact I don't think I've ever been involved in a concert that's felt as awesome as this one did.

I'm one of the Britpop generation. There's no denying it. I went to uni in September 1993 and by the end of my first year it was all kicking off- Blur's Parklife was the album playing all over the hall of residence I lived in, and I bought it and fell in love with it that summer- sadly a bit too late to see them play the Octagon Centre at the end of the second semester. They became my band for the next few years... everyone else left them behind for the Oasis experience, such as it was, or other bands like the Manics or whatever, but Blur were mine. I loved their music hugely and had a HUGE crush on Damon Albarn! Oh my yes... Modern Life is Rubbish, Parklife and The Great Escape were the soundtrack for the rest of my time at Sheffield. Their songs continued to have a big impact on me after uni too, with Blur being an instant favourite once I got my head around Beetlebum sounding so different, and 13 being the actual soundtrack to a nasty evening breaking up with Paul... and finally Think Tank being the first CD I bought out shopping with Steve (it was a buy one, get one half price offer... he only paid for the half price CD!).

And then they stopped. They just stopped- no break up, but no new album. Nothing. It seemed like a sad way to go, but there was always the albums to come back to, and a great body it is, but it's not the same... gradually new bands come along and take your affections and I although I never stopped listening to them, I didn't listen to them nearly as often as I used to.

Then, they came back! The shows were announced last December, and having wisely joined their mailing list ages before, we were able to get tickets to the first show of their comeback before they went officially on sale and suddenly they were back! Graham and all!

As is sometimes the way of things, this original first show of their comeback (if it is a comeback... the programme says we should think of it as a pick up after a break or something like that!) now turned out to be the last show in the UK of their reunion, so it was lovely when a little way into the show Damon said thank you to us all for being their and for being the first people to want to see them.

The gig itself was amazing. I've said that about lots of gigs I've been too, mainly because there's something special about hearing live music- the way you get dragged along by the music and all that... but this was on a different scale to anything I've experienced before. Right from the get go- as the first notes of She's So High started the whole of the park seemed to erupt into song and jumping and all that- 50000 people all joining in (well aside from the miserable two in front of us who moved aside pretty quickly) is something quite spectacular. You can't help but be dragged along with them (not that I wouldn't have wanted to anyway!)... needless to say the atmosphere was just fantastic!

I was hoarse by the end of the night from singing along but high on the atmosphere and the joy at hearing so many favourite songs played so well over the couple of hours they played. Parklife got a good showing with 8 of its tracks played, with 5 from Modern Life, 3 from Blur and 1, and two a piece from Leisure and The Great Escape and just Out of Time from Think Tank (sadly) and Popscene. There were some tracks I'd loved to have heard, some I was surprised to hear (Trimm Trabb was never a favourite) but that's walys the way when you've got a band with a huge songbook to delve into.

The concert ended with The Universal and we left Hyde Park somewhat dazed- well I did anyway. What the future holds for them, I don't know, but I hope this isn't the end. I hope there's loads more to come yet. I hope the love for their music that poured out from the audience last night was enough to convince them they're still important to us fans. But if it is the end, what a glorious way to go out.

Now I await the CD to arrive so I can hear them sing properly!

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