It’s been a year of surprises and opportunities- not the least of which was seeing Gorillaz return to Arizona. The virtual band made the leap from its animated world right to Footprint Center to an audience of all ages and enormous levels of excitement.
Musical mastermind Damon Albarn wove the Gorillaz universe out of interview clips, animated short films, music videos and everything in between to create a rich storyline that played out for the crowd. Not only are the massive screens behind the band playing out the timeline, the band itself moves in ways that bring the whole thing together.
Albarn was thrilled to be back onstage, stepping into the audience more than once and even snatching people’s phones for videos and selfies. That love was fully reciprocated on every track the band played- from 2005’s iconic Demon Days to the group’s latest material that will appear on their upcoming album, Cracker Island .
The Gorillaz universe is nowhere near as happy and stable as the show, however, with the characters constantly under siege in “On Melancholy Hill” and “Kids with Guns”. Opening duo Earthgang returned to the stage on a special rendition of “Opium” and D.R.A.M. made an appearance on “Andromeda” to pump up the crowd.
The encore pulled out all the greatest hits- from “Stylo” to “Clint Eastwood” on the closer. For the kids in the crowd finally getting their chance to see the group in person, the live feature of De La Soul on “Feel Good Inc.” was a shot straight to our nostalgic hearts.
Gorillaz is visually and vocally rich with talent, painting the live show into an unforgettable experience for fans of every demographic represented on Monday night. It was clearly a dream for the band to be back onstage and the fans to finally witness them in such a grandiose capacity- we’re certainly going to be there the next time they come to town.
Check out all the photos from the show!
Story and photos by Olivia Khiel