Venue: Roger's Arena
Reviewed by: Jordan C.
I've always wondered what a Gorillaz show was like, and if it was either of their tours before this one, I might not have been as impressed. When the world's only accepted and celebrated cartoon band started, they were just that at shows, musicians fronted by cartoon characters on giant screens. But now, with their third and possibly most ambitious album yet, Damon has upped the ante on the Gorillaz show considerably.
When I arrived at Roger's Arena just after the opening act N.E.R.D. had finished their set, I was instantly aware that the set up on stage must be a homage to huge productions like those of James Brown and Parliament Funkadelic. The double drummers, string and horn sections, and a never ending cavalcade of guest vocalists and musicians spoke volumes of Damon's respect for high concept presentations like the Mothership Connection Tour. While the musicians were front and center, dressed up in garb befitting Plastic Beach's nautical theme, there was still an immense screen showing a barrage of visuals from all their albums' videos and some stuff made especially for this tour. While big name guests included Bobby Womack, De La Soul, Bootie Brown, Kano, Bashy, and Little Dragon, it was the mostly unknown Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and Syrian American Orchestra that really stood out.
The crowd was such a crazy mix, I was amazed at the draw the Gorillaz seemed to have three albums in. People were screaming, dancing and losing their minds all around us. Damon was animated and excited, but a lil' sloppy as he dropped the mic numerous times. But there is no denying his musical genius, the man is an alchemist of sound. Vancouver (BC) was the last stop on this tour, so it's too late to go experience the show for yourself, but I will say, I'll be first in line for their next tour and you should be right behind me.