Photos and Live Review: GORILLAZ - Oracle Arena, Oct. 30, 2010

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Review by David Sason

Photos by John Joh and David Sason

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I’m not sure if there’s a fancy plural form for “legend”, but there should be, just to accurately describe Gorillaz’s Escape to Plastic Beach Tour, which dazzled Oakland on Saturday. While not filled to capacity, the costumed crowd was enthralled from start to finish not only by Jamie Hewlett’s inventive animation (projected on a giant screen behind the performers) , but also musical pioneers as diverse as Bobby Womack, De La Soul and The Clash’s Mick Jones and Paul Simonon (whose sailor outfits inspired clones throughout the arena). The spectacle’s ringleader, of course, was Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn, who engaged the crown nonstop, seemingly relishing the stateside arena-size audience that his Blur could never draw.

While Lou Reed didn’t  show up like he did at the preceding L.A. show, it was incredibly exhilarating and surreal - yet oddly appropriate ­- to see De La Soul flanked by The effing Clash, who bopped along during a euphoric “Feel Good, Inc.”. In fact, while not as earth-shattering with its output, Albarn’s Gorillaz best symbolize The Clash’s mission for unbridled musical amalgamation, evident from the orchestral “White Flag” (which featured a septet of local Arab-American musicians) to the sci-fi gospel of epic closer “Demon Days”.

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What’s most impressive is how the show delivered despite only a handful of hits, including modern-classic stomper “Clint Eastwood”, which suffered greatly without local luminary Del tha Funkee Homosapien’s incredible verses (Bashy and Kano filled in with their own lyrics). Despite the huge production and orgy of visuals and musical styles, Gorillaz are quite potent conceptually and song-wise. Seven years after the dissolution of Blur, Damon Albarn really does have sunshine in a bag.---David Sason

More photos and setlist below.

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Setlist (from setlist.fm):

Welcome to

the World of the Plastic Beach (with Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)

Last Living

Souls

19/2000 (with

Rosie Wilson)

On

Melancholy Hill

Stylo (with Bobby

Womack and Bootie Brown)

Rhinestone

Eyes

Superfast

Jellyfish (with De La Soul)

Tomorrow

Comes Today

Empire Ants

(with Yukimi Nagano)

Broken (Extended)

Dirty Harry

(with Bootie Brown)El MañanaWhite Flag (with

Bashy and Kano)

To Binge (with

Yukimi Nagano)

DARE (with Rosie

Wilson)

Glitter

Freeze

Plastic

Beach

Encore:

Cloud of

Unknowing (with Bobby Womack)Feel Good

Inc. (with De La Soul)

Clint

Eastwood (with Bashy and Kano)

Don't Get

Lost In Heaven

Demon Days (with

Bobby Womack)

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