Blur get emotional at Wembley 

A second night on the UK’s biggest stage brings tears and euphoria for the Britpop champions

“Playing Wembley feels f*cking normal now!” jokes Damon Albarn, looking out over the second sea of 90,000 faces he’s seen this weekend. A few songs later he’s underneath his piano, openly weeping into the floor. Playing Wembley isn’t just any old gig, and none of the significance is lost on Albarn – visibly overwhelmed by finally being exactly where he’s always wanted to be. 

“We were just 12 years old when we met,” he says to Graham Coxon, himself so giddy that he tries to start a song with a pint balanced on his head. “And now we’re… here.” He kisses his friends on the lips. Grins again. Weeps again. And launches back into Blur’s proudest moment to date. 

It’s taken 35 years to get here – three decades that saw Blur define the Britpop scene, leave it, ignore it and look back on it with nostalgia as they broke up at least twice already. This is the band’s second official reunion; now standing in the middle of Wembley as the heroes of a legacy that feels more secure than ever. 

It’s a sea of Fred Perry and Italia 90 shirts under the two giant mirror balls as Albarn, Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rountree (legs intact) take to the stage for their second night in the stadium. Opening with new track ‘St. Charles Square’ before moving straight into ‘There’s No Other Way’ and ‘Popscene’, the setlist stays pretty much the same as the day before. We get ‘Sunday Sunday’, of course, but there’s little variation for good reason. Blur are here to sell their new record, The Ballad Of Darren, but they’re also here to make history. 

The last time the band played a show that meant this much to them was in 2009 – with a Hyde Park reunion that felt poignant enough for a documentary (No Distance Left To Run) to paint it as the end of an era. Fourteen years later, Blur’s Wembley weekend feels twice as celebrational. Hiding their emotions behind the kind of raw energy that lifted them up the charts in the 90s, Blur are young again as they rip through ‘Country House’, ‘Parklife’ (with cheeky chappie Phil Daniels), ‘Song 2’ and ‘Girls And Boys’. 

Ending on ‘This Is A Low’, Albarn visibly chokes up again as he sings. “It looks like we might have made it, yes/ It looks like we’ve made it to the end… soon it will be gone forever.” Coming back with the entire London Community Gospel Choir to turn ‘Tender’ into a religious experience, ‘The Narcissist’ reminds everyone that Blur still have a very good distance left to run. And then ‘The Universal’ leaves everyone in tears again…

“When the days they seem to fall through you/ well just let them go” sobs Albarn, looking back over an ocean of phone lights one last time, muttering “Jesus…” under his breath. He walks off stage, then jumps back out with a smile and jazz hands. He doesn’t want to leave. You can’t blame him.  

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Photo credit: Jim Dyson/Getty