Monday, 6 August 2012

It Really, Really, Really Did Happen

Britpop legends Blur played at the Margate Winter Gardens last week, whipping the crowd up into a frenzy of rowdy nostalgia and singalong choruses. In the first of three warm-up shows in preparation for their headline slot at the Olympics closing ceremony in Hyde Park, it’s even caught the eye of the NME magazine who rightly called it a ‘triumphant live comeback.’

It felt quite surreal standing in the crowd watching Blur run through all their greatest hits such as “Country House,” “Beetlebum,” and “Parklife” – in fact, I almost had to pinch myself that it was actually happening in Margate (of all places!), but yes… it really, really, really did happen!

Earlier in the day, I’d heard the news that Blur arrived in Margate by train and stopped off at Peter's Fish Factory for a bite to eat, signing autographs and shaking hands with fans. You can even see some photos of Albarn posing outside Margate Police Station on the Isle of Thanet Gazette website, although I am confused how one fan just so happened to be carrying a vinyl copy of their 1997 album Blur. A remarkable coincidence, don't you agree?!

During the gig, I bumped into Paul Palmer, Entertainments and Facilities Manager at the Margate Winter Gardens, and had a quick chat with him. He told me that, true to all the speculation, the members of Blur – Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree – turned up spontaneously in the afternoon and greeted the main hall by saying: “Wow!” 

And who could blame them? The Winter Gardens really is a magnificent and historic place. You know you’re living somewhere special when you have a venue on your doorstep where The Beatles once played, that’s my theory. The fact that Blur’s management saw fit to choose Margate to play host to such an intimate show is a real privilege and I’d like to hope that it will lead to more big name acts pencilling in a date at the Winter Gardens in the not-too-distant future. Let’s hope so!

There did appear to be a few teething troubles with Blur guitarist Graham Coxon’s amp at some point towards the end of “Trimm Trabb,” leading him to frustratedly toss his guitar on the floor and hurl his drink across the stage. However, after a quick crowd-pleasing hug between Graham and Damon – an amazing moment considering there used to be animosity between the two – such technical difficulties were soon ironed out.

All in all, the gig was a truly memorable occasion to bear witness to. There were anthems galore and it was truly magical to behold. I sincerely hope they televise the Hyde Park Olympic closing ceremony gig, because I’d love it if the rest of the UK could experience what I had the good fortune to see. Oh, which reminds me, as I was leaving, I saw this:

By all accounts, this picture (see above) is apparently Damon Albarn’s harmonium. I was exiting the rear of the Winter Gardens building and I saw a bloke loading up a van with musical equipment. Immediately, my mind went into overdrive. 

“Is that Damon Albarn’s?” I asked. 

The bloke was reluctant to confirm it, but his silence spoke volumes. 

“It’s a harmonium,” he replied. “He bought it today.” 

“What, bought it from Margate?” I said. “Excellent, this is going on my blog.” 

So here it is. If you spot Albarn on the festival circuit next year and he’s playing this same harmonium, you could very well be looking at something he originally bought in Margate. Now that’s a claim to fame, isn’t it?!

First image © Copyright Lindsey Scott (@zinzi_amp) via Instagram. Many thanks to her for allowing me permission to use it.

1 comment:

  1. It was indeed bought in Margate as I sold it to him, even got my own private show as he tested it out.