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Blur perfect the reunion show live at Wembley

10 July 2023, 12:00

Blur's latest reunion show speaks to not only the success of reunion tours – but how vital they are connecting us to what we love and reminding us of times well spent, writes Isabella Miller.

Our reminiscence of Cool Britannia often weaves a way back to present – whether through the latest fashion campaign Kate Moss lends her face to, the return of a certain Union Jack mini dress, or, a reunion show at Wembley Stadium for Britpop pioneers Blur.

This may not be the first time Albarn and Co have put on a reunion, yet after eight years of nothing, reuniting on the UK’s most celebrated stage is something to behold, a moment Albarn tells the sold out venue the band have been “waiting for all their lives”.

It's melting pot of people that clamber out of the sweaty tube, flooding out of Wembley Park station and joining a crowd of people making their way toward the venue; I journey there with two ladies who have come from Italy. They share tales of living together in London at the height of Britpop and their deep love for the band.

I meet a group of boys who are celebrating the end of their A-Level exams. All four are donning Blur T-Shirts. One proudly flexes a muscle decorated with a Blur tattoo. “We’ve got shit seats!” he tells me, beaming under a bucket hat. “We’re up with the gods at the back of the stadium, but there was no way I was going to miss it. Blur are my favourite band and I’ve never seen them before!”

No two gig-goers are the same. Friends have come from afar, couples are celebrating anniversaries and families have come with kids as young as four (most wearing suitable ear defenders).

Inside the venue, a feral roar from the audience is made when a light shaped in Blur’s logo lowers down toward the stage. Bar the flashing visuals that appear on the monitors throughout the set and a couple of oversized mirror-balls, this lighted logo is the only stadium hardware that appears at the show. But as we find out, fancy visuals and over the top light shows aren't needed when you have Blur’s catalogue of hits and a road-workers tent that holds Phil Daniels.

Each member humbly arrives on stage, yet with effortless rock-stardom. Damon Albarn gets a large cheer; the frontman and Gorillaz co-creator strides up to the front of the stage, pointing his fingers up to the sky and grinning at the crowd before him.


Through the rock ‘n’ roll guitar screams and witty lyrics heard in opening tracks St Charles Square, There’s No Other Way, Beetlebum and Tracy Jacks, what is palpable is the sheer emotion felt throughout the venue. I join most of those in attendance who know each song word-for-word, all with our own personal memories and stories attached to the tunes.

Reunion tours ponder on the emotions that come with great music. We saw it recently when Pulp toured a string of reunion shows around the country and saw sell-outs in seconds. Albarn touches on the raw emotion that music can evoke, referring to Wembley as a “temple for the agnostic” and how the venue has homed many an emotional experience in its time. He spares a moment for Freddie Mercury, inviting the crowd to join him in applause for the Queen frontman.

Britpop, however one may define it, comes with a level of humour and we see this in the latter half of the show when Albarn pulls a hat out of a peculiar road workers tent we later find out is hiding Phil Daniels, who joins the band on stage for Parklife.

The iconic tunes keep coming: Song 2 sees not a foot on the ground, with loud guitar screams and iconic drum snares encouraging feral head bops from the crowd of 90,000 people. The nostalgia continues for the encore, with Albarn donning the original Fila tracksuit from the Girls and Boys music video.

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Toward the end of the show, a very happy looking Albarn takes a perch on the side of the stage: “You’re properly mad, you lot, for sticking with us for so long,” he laughs before the band break into a dazzling performance of Tender featuring the London Community Choir.

Two hours packed with blissful sentiment, emotion and songs that hold special places in people's hearts answers why Blurs fans are mad enough to stick with them for this long.

The show speaks to not only the success of reunion tours, but perhaps how vital they are connecting us to what we love and reminding us of times well spent. People flock out the venue beaming. I find myself overhearing conversations about continued memories of the tunes played at tonight's show and peoples deep affinity for the band. Tonight Britpop came home to Wembley and Blur held the keys.

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