How appropriate that Gorillaz should begin the final show of their 'Humanz' European tour with the Day of the Dead sample that opens 'M1 A1'. "Hello. Hello! Is there anybody there?" the plaintive cry rings out across the O2 Arena, only to fall on the zombified ears of an audience of barely animated corpses.
For the next two hours Damon Albarn ("the greatest entertainer on earth" as De La Soul's Maseo exasperatedly reminds us) tries his best to breathe life into a crowd so listless that you'd think it was them that had been touring non-stop since the summer. Only megahits 'Feel Good Inc.' and 'Clint Eastwood' stir more than the first five rows from their slumber. For the most part the crowd just stand there blinking listlessly in the light, a huge grey mass slowly absorbing the music like an engorged slug in a salted petri dish.
The arrival of arguably the world's greatest (and most elusive) rapper Yasiin Bey/Mos Def for a spellbinding performance of 'Sweepstakes' barely elicits a cheer. The captivating strings of 'El Mañana' and gentle beauty of 'Hong Kong', two of the finest compositions Albarn has ever written, are treated as an opportunity for many a punter (who paid at least £65 for their tickets) to have a loud catch-up with their mates. No-one dances to 'DARE', a feat I didn't even know that was possible. Especially with bloody Shaun Ryder there endearingly fucking up his only two lines.
You can't blame them though. The fact is that London's largest dedicated music venue also happens to be its worst. The O2 Arena is a vampire that feeds on culture; a demonic Cathedral of commercial partnership stacked with overpriced drinks and overpaid Londoners.
Gorillaz are the finest pop group of the century so far, they deserve a far better send-off than this oh-too flaccid O2 farewell.
Words: Josh Gray
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