Woo-hoo: Blur, live

Back in 2012, I made a mental list:

Huge bands I must see

  • Blur
  • Weezer
  • The Smashing Pumpkins

I only started seeing live music regularly that year, so I had a small list. I’ve only ever really been into seeing local bands, so that list of the ‘big guys’ has remained small.

On Saturday I had crossed off all three of those bands, finally seeing Blur live, at the same venue I saw Weezer and The Smashing Pumpkins.

Of the three bands, I saw The Smashing Pumpkins first, in a shitty rushed wave of doubt. Despite the lineup change, myself as well as a lot of other fans (as I discovered on the night) were just holding out for the band to play their greatest hits at the end, even though more than half the original members were no longer there, and the band was considered ‘just Billy Corgan’. So… I just went. I got the greatest hits, but I didn’t get the greatest hits, if you know what I mean. It was an amazing show, better than I expected, but still struggles to fit in my mind as a true experience. I wish I had seen the band in their prime, but I was still in my diapers. Oh well.

I saw Weezer next, in 2014 when I snuck my camera into the mosh and got some pretty good photos. I remember coming at least an hour early to secure my place at the front. Tickets actually sold out, and I resorted to Gumtree to grab a ticket from a guy who didn’t want his anymore. I can’t express how grateful I was, because – I’ll spoil the story now – Weezer was still the best out of the three.

But Blur, oh, to finally see Blur. I will say it right now, too: they are far better live than they are on recording. I was really missing something. They apparently visited Sydney in 2007, but I wasn’t as obsessed with them, and I would have been too young to attend anyway.

Bands that sound good live are in abundance, but Blur is one of those bands that I feel strongly about. They are so much better than their recordings that I don’t enjoy listening to them as much anymore! I was very impressed with their performance. They weren’t rowdy, even though I was expecting them to be a little like that. They were lovely.

I snatched up tickets for myself and Nick after a lot of the better seats sold out. I decided that after the band were removed from Big Day Out festival and I still attended despite being rather disappointed – I might as well see Blur at their own show. We got a spot at the side up in the seated area.

I applied to photograph the show although I was in serious doubt that we would be approved since CBB is such a small blog. We got freaking lucky. I was shocked that we actually did. Apparently someone pulled out so we got a place. I couldn’t believe it was happening when I received the email.

There were several highlights to the show. I was glad I could enjoy the show after I finished photographing. My regular readers will be familiar with this, but you usually only get the first three songs to photograph, then you’re whisked away. So you only have that amount of time to get your shots.

I couldn’t believe I was seeing the band when they came up on stage. I’m probably a bigger fan of guitarist Graham Coxon compared to the other guys in the band. I remember interacting with him on Twitter a while ago about his album A+E. I had taken a photo of my bloody knees because it looked exactly like the bloody knees on his album cover, and he had responded with “Oh dear!” Hilarious interaction, and I have to admit his tweets have always been entertaining. When I saw him on stage I had my camera to my eye, but as soon as I put it down, it was like – woah – Graham in real life. Wow. I must have stopped in my tracks.

Lead singer Damon Albarn was very entertaining. The photographers were warned that he likes to throw water from water bottles onto the audience. I had to be thankful for that because running around in the pit for fifteen minutes was making me exhausted. And we all had to be thankful for that, because photographers love when musicians have some antics. As a photographer, there is nothing more dull than a band that just stands there playing their instruments without so much as a hello.

Damon interacted with the crowd and shook hands with people and leaned over the barrier. He jumped around and danced. He did his apparent signature move of putting his arm around Graham and leaning on him lovingly.

Graham was shy, I think that would be the usual – heck, it’s only the first time I’ve seen the band live, but I have heard about their personalities. Towards the end of the concert, Graham did a backwards tumble as he played his guitar. It was awesome to see – I wish I had a photo of the moment, though!

The band started off with Go Out from their new album The Magic Whip. They have merchandise with that ice cream face that is on the cover of that album. Blur also played some of their best hits like Parklife, Coffee & TV, Song 2 (duh, best two minutes of the whole set!) and Beetlebum. The band did do an encore, and Damon even apologised that it took them a little longer than expected to come back out.

It was a marvellous experience, I’m glad I decided to go. I am also thrilled and feel very honoured that I was able to photograph them. 🙂 This time I didn’t have to worry about sneaking my camera in because I got a media pass!

I’ve attached some photos to this post, but more will be up on Casual Band Blogger shortly. I’ll update this post with a link, too! Edit: The photos are online!

Damon Albarn throwing water from a water bottle
Damon Albarn throwing water from a water bottle
Damon with his arms up in the air
Damon with his arms up in the air
Guitarist Graham Coxon
Guitarist Graham Coxon
Damon Albarn and Alex James
Damon Albarn and Alex James
Damon Albarn
Damon Albarn
A shot of Damon with the audience
A shot of Damon with the audience
Damon moving the microphone stand
Damon moving the microphone stand
Graham with his guitar
Graham with his guitar
Close shot of Damon
Close shot of Damon
Low angle shot of Damon singing
Low angle shot of Damon singing
Mid-swing of the microphone cable
Mid-swing of the microphone cable
Damon singing with the microphone cable in his outstretched arm
Damon singing with the microphone cable in his outstretched arm
Graham with a cheeky facial expression
Graham with a cheeky facial expression
Graham with a big grin
Graham with a big grin
A shot of the stage with the disco balls turning
A shot of the stage with the disco balls turning

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Comments on this post

Congratulations on seeing all three of those bands and finishing that goal 😉. Hopefully you’ll be able to see more as time goes along! Come to think of it, the only bands I care about seeing are the marching bands and stuff 😆. Totally different than what everyone is used to. For sneaking your camera into Weezer’s show, you got some really good shots! I like how you took pictures of them from several different angles. You’re a pro with knowing the tricks and trade with the art of taking pictures at these shows 😉

Thank you Nancy! I’ve easily been to a hundred concerts and gigs, so I am sure I will rack up that total, even though most of them are small bands. The past year hasn’t had a lot of bands I want to see, though. I am pretty proud of those shots, looking back! Even though there were a few months this year that I didn’t take concert photos, it looks like I haven’t quite lost my touch haha. 😄

You’re really good at this “sneaking a camera in and snapping photos” because your photos look pretty darn awesome! Those angles and at the right moments? GOODNESS!

And congrats on completing your goal of see those three bands!

Thanks Connie! Well the Blur ones were taken in front of the crowd barrier since I had a photo pass – but the Weezer ones? For sure, I am so surprised that my shots from the crowd and standing in the one spot actually turned out pretty great. In the end, practice makes perfect. 🙂

I used to attend concerts all the time in highschool, my first was Hilary Duff, then Hedely, Christina Aguilera, Backstreet Boys, The Fray, U2, Jonas Brothers, and now I am going to see Kelly Clarkson & Nick Jonas in October. Mainly to get my 13 year old self her fix of Nick Jonas. I am dragging Christopher with me, that will be interesting. We were actually supposed to see Three Doors Down last year but we were late on getting tickets. I have always wanted to see Weezer! I have never heard of the Blur (sorry) but I am glad you got tor each your goal and see the bands you wanted to so far! I feel as time goes on you will be able to see even more as the lists of artists you like grows.

I sneak my camera (powershot one) into every concert, but because all of the concerts are in hockey arena’s I cannot really get decent shots, I did as BSB though. 🙂

I didn’t attend any concerts until I was twenty years old – I wasn’t really into the live music scene. I think there are some bands I would totally see to get my 13-year-old self her fix – I would say bands like Muse, Linkin Park and Green Day would definitely top that list, since they are bands I wanted to see when I was younger but don’t really listen to much now.

Weezer are amazing, so I hope you get to see them one day. They seem to do a lot of shows compared to most bands. I feel like it is a big achievement to see these huge bands since I usually like Australian bands you can see every other week.

I love taking photos when I get the opportunity, but if I don’t get a media pass I go without my camera and try to appreciate the show as it is. 😄

That’s awesome that you’ve crossed all 3 bands off of your list! I made a similar list with Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Muse on it. Sadly, I haven’t been able to cross off Muse yet.

I love it when bands are better in person than on recording. I felt that way when I saw Offspring, and they made me enjoy a few songs live that I didn’t originally like. Congrats on being able to photograph the show! The photos you took look great, especially the close ups. I really liked looking through them! I’m glad it was such a good show 😄

I used to be so obsessed with Muse about a decade ago, then I stopped following their music and listening to them. I think I would still love to see them but I know I wouldn’t really be keen on paying so much money, haha. I hope you get to see them some time soon!

I have to admit I like some of their songs more than others, but I’ve heard the same about Offspring from another friend of mine.

Congrats on crossing off the mental list! Musically, anyhow! I too, crossed a few things off and I’ll certainly do it again musically. Now, if that would somehow translate into me being functional, oh well! 😆

I saw my favorite singer in concert: Vienna Teng live and LOVED her, plus she played some of her new songs from her new album and I loved it so much that I bought it that night and she signed it.

Anyhow, congrats! 😊 Great photos, btw!

It’s awesome when you see your favourite singer! I saw one of my favourite musicians, Ben Jorgensen, at the first show I attended, and I had the joy of meeting him and getting him to sign his CD for me too.

Thanks Michelle!