Gorillaz review – Damon Albarn and friends make a bit of live music history

Damon Albarn

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O2 Area, London
Pop’s longest-serving imaginary band fill the reopened venue with deceptive chaos and the delight of feeling part of something again

“It’s such a pleasure to be again,” says Gorillaz’s human representative, Damon Albarn, addressing a full and bouncing O2 Area. “Hundreds of individuals communing together. What an exquisite feeling. Thanks.” The gang roar as if they haven’t been to a gig in 18 months.

Who’d have thought that pop’s longest-serving imaginary band – as youthfully bony as once they have been first drawn by artist Jamie Hewlett in 1998 – would make a bit real-life history by being the primary act to play the reopened O2 Area? Gorillaz and the O2 aren’t natural bedfellows, the former being ramshackle punk/dub/hip-hop futurists and the latter London’s most impersonal venue, but the area is the only place giant enough to carry them, in all senses. Outdoors, a big queue snakes around crash limitations, and that’s simply to buy hoodies; inside, every seat is occupied, and the stage itself teems with musicians, special visitors and, onscreen, the gurning cartoon Gorillaz: Murdoc, Noodle, Russel and 2D. That is, in each respect, an enormous present.

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