Damon Albarn at the Royal Albert Hall - review: Stunning show from a man of the world


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The Independent Culture

Despite the grandeur of the RAH, Damon Albarn’s second-night performance is fairly raucous.

“We’re at the pub, all right?’ he tells the audience, before pelting them with water and plunging into the crowd to say hello.

Trips down memory lane see a glut of special guests troop back and forth onstage and prove just how far Albarn has stretched himself in his fascination with everything from hip-hop to African to gospel to Caribbean.

Brian Eno provides meditatively sombre vocals for “Heavy Seas of Love”, De La Soul bounce on for “Feel Good Inc”, Kano is there for “Clint Eastwood”, and Graham Coxon is ready for the first encore with “End of a Century”.

Dealing out observations of our “rubbish” modern world in his solo album’s titular track, the melancholic “Everyday Robots” is utterly enthralling, along with a high-noted violin phrase that repeats and repeats.

All of Albarn’s identities – from Blur’s swaggering, ironic frontman to the dry wit of Gorillaz – are present, yet the most dominant is his worldly traveller: back from his adventures to share what he’s learned. Albarn is supremely confident onstage – a born performer – and this latest return is nothing less than euphoric.

Royal Albert Hall, London