Nothing makes me more proud as a GATR than when my fellow GATRS of the world get to see their favorite artists live. To take in all the magical moments of the concert that you’ve been looking forward to for some time and then to make it all the more incredible when you get asked those coveted words, “would you like to go on stage?” This dream come true of a moment happened to our fellow GATR, Read on for GATR Anaiah’s once in a lifetime Blur experience.
By Anaiah Davis
When I first listened to Blur, I never knew that the band would emotionally affect me almost like the Strokes did, taking me on a new adventure of a band who has existed years before I was born. And there was one thing I learned very quickly upon researching about them.
Blur didn’t really like America, and have barely toured here.
And the last time they released an album as a 4-piece was when I was 3 months old, and there wasn’t anything in the horizon.
That was the way I thought until February of 2015, when Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James, and Dave Rowntree all sat in a little chinese restaurant together with Zane Lowe to announce The Magic Whip.
And a few months later, in June, I would be buying a GA ticket to my first ever Blur show.
Counting down the days, the time arrived when I would jump on a 20 dollar round-trip bus and head up to my hometown, New York City, to see one of my favorite bands in the world at Madison Square Garden.
I was nervous. After seeing how the past shows went, including the one that happened in LA a few days earlier, anything could happen in this show. After losing in a soundcheck contest as well, all I wanted from the night was an acknowledgement from the band. If not, just an amazing show.
After waiting 7 hours in kind of pleasant weather (before the sun went down, mind you) I found myself in Madison Square Garden, excited as I found myself at the very front, glad with my decision of not running for a spot in front of Graham and choosing the side off of Alex.
This is when I met a young lady who was more than ecstatic to have gotten Dave’s drumstick in the midst of running for barrier, which I had just missed completely in my mad dash. Her name was Jackie, and she was there with her friend Chris, who loved Blur almost as me. Jackie had made stickers of the band, which I was incredibly fond of, to the point I put one on my shirt, because why not (It was Damon…)? Jackie and Chris were wonderful, and for the whole night they were my proud mothers (because they are older than me).
Soon, the lights dimmed, and Courtney Barnett opened. I had heard some of her music before I came, and I saw why they would choose her as a opener. However, the bass drum was completely in the red, making it a bit more uncomfortable than I would liked it to be. But she was great nonetheless.
Then, not even a 15-minute wait, the lights dimmed, and the familiar ice cream truck music began as the ice cream cones in the backdrop lit up, and there they were.
The four men I devoted the summer of 2014 to learn everything I could about them. The band who, ultimately, changed my thinking process of music.
The setlist was what I expected it to be. They played Go Out, the opener I was hoping for, the one that would get this intimate party started. Graham’s screeching guitar in the beginning and the bass line coming in showed me that getting this ticket and traveling up was well worth it.
With the new also came some old hits, and the band wasted no time going into There’s No Other Way, which I knew all the lyrics of and by this time I was so pumped that nothing could stop me.
That is until the chorus, when Damon came over to me, made eye contact with me while singing as I sang back to him, and smiled.
This is when I became truly animated, questioning Jackie if that really happened. If this all was really happening (my 16-year-old heart couldn’t take this.)
The rest of the night was a mixture of new songs and their classics, that blended well enough together for me. From Ghost Ship to Country Sad Ballad Man (which was newly added to the list) the setlist seemed to have songs that catered to everyone. When the precious Tender arrived I was shaking so hard from all the energy I was releasing, it was almost as if my whole body was building up for this moment. In between my “oh my”and “oh why”’s, a security guard passed by me. We made eye contact, he smiled, and asked me “Do you wanna go up there?” notably pointing at the stage.
This is when I truly knew the night was going to be a good night.
Tender ends and by this point me and a few other fans who were picked at random as well were eagerly waiting for us to dash onto that stage. Damon explained that the wonderful Mike Myers couldn’t do it and although Fred Armisen did it in LA, he was at a wedding this evening, and so they chose people at random, AND WE WERE OFF.
Now, to explain how I got chosen and what I did, there’s a video (or tons per say) of that all over Youtube in which I’ll leave a link but if you somehow can’t watch it, I did the verse of Parklife and whilst I wish I remembered everything, my body was using so much energy that somethings are a blank while others (such as seeing Graham smiling at me & Damon kissing my head) stuck. It was surreal! I thank my brothers now for leaving the verse parts for me! Imagine if I failed… No, I don’t want to think about it.
Soon, we were whisked off the stage again, as if nothing ever happened (Alex did give me a high-five and dropped his bass chord; I picked it up and he said “cheers babe” and that sent me into a frenzy of blushing, as if I didn’t just do enough of that). The rest of the songs are a blur (no pun intended) because I was hot in the cheeks and trying to get back to my spot and my new-found friends while everyone who recognized me congratulated me.
Had I done that well? To everyone, I did. And I felt good.
Blur had finished off with This Is A Low, and came back out to do for more songs for the encore (and by this time I was back in the spot I wanted). They were all songs that I knew, and then it came out.
The opening sound the violins came in, and because of my body, finally weak from everything I had happened, I started crying, as Jackie hugged me and Chris rubbed my back.
It was The Universal, the song that started it all, the song that got me to the spot I was standing, the song that got me on stage with my dearest band.
I could barely scream anymore, but in the darkness of the crowd, I sang it proudly.
It really, really, really could happen. -Review by Anaiah Davis. Majority of the Photos By Dana Yavin.