M.I.A., Gorillaz, TV On The Radio 9/16/17

(i) lineup

1a. TV On The Radio
2b. Gorillaz
3c. M.I.A.

(1a) (TV On The Radio’s) setlist

  1. Young Liars
  2. Lazerray
  3. Golden Age
  4. Happy Idiot
  5. Could You
  6. Winter
  7. Wolf Like Me
  8. Trouble
  9. Province
  10. DLZ
  11. Staring at the Sun

(1b) highlights

  • even though I’ve seen TV on the Radio before, this was the first time I was really able to be in the front and engage with the band.
  • not too long ago, I feel like TV on the Radio was everyone’s indie darling for all time, but I really do think they’ve progressively become more underrated. we need more TV on the Radio.
  • how good is “Wolf Like Me”? it is so, so good.

(1c) lowlights

  • the sound wasn’t super fantastic – not sure who to blame for that.

(1d) overall thoughts

In a super-stripped down set, TV on the Radio took the stage just before sunset at the Meadows Music Festival. Tunde Adebimpe’s beautiful voice, on-stage energy, and ability to just get lost in himself ironically made me connect more to his performance than many other that day.

Bottom line: Everyone needs to see TV On The Radio if only because they’re cool as hell, don’t really care what you think about what they’re doing, and mostly just want to have fun in a disaffected punk way that manages to feel cool and not at all douchey.

(2a) (Gorillaz’s) setlist

  1. M1 A1
  2. Last Living Souls
  3. Saturnz Barz
  4. Tomorrow Comes Today
  5. Rhinestone Eyes
  6. Sleeping Powder
  7. On Melancholy Hill
  8. Busted and Blue
  9. El Manana
  10. Let Me Out (with Pusha T)
  11. Dirty Harry (with Bootie Brown)
  12. Strobelite (with Peven Everett)
  13. Andromeda (with D.R.A.M.)
  14. Sex Murder Party (with Jamie Principle)
  15. Garage Palace (with Little Simz)
  16. Feel Good Inc. (with De La Soul)
  17. We Got The Power (with Camille Bethomier and D.R.A.M.)

Encore:

  1. Stylo (with Mos Def and Peven Everett)
  2. Clint Eastwood (with Del the Funky Homosapien)

(2b) highlights

  • Gorillaz!!!!! literally how iconic are Gorillaz, I have no words
  • The last 7 or 8 songs were basically perfect. I’ll admit that we showed up late to this set and ONLY saw the last 7 or 8 songs in order to catch M.I.A., but hot damn, so much fun.
  • What is there to say about Damon Albarn that hasn’t already been said other than he’s cool ass dad who came out literally wearing sweats and a slightly baggy stripped street. I mean….perfection. What a guy.
  • there aren’t enough words to describe the feeling hearing “Feel Good Inc” and “Clint Eastwood” live. yeah, it’s basic af to reflect on those particular tracks but man, talk about songs that truly capture the perfectly unique moment that was my middle school experience. is that weird? it’s true.

(2c) lowlights

  • like I said, we only saw the last half of this set because someone who runs Meadows’ booking decided to double-book M.I.A. and Gorillaz despite the fact that they obviously have crossover audiences. lowkey that person should get a new job title.

(2d) overall thoughts

I feel like there’s truly no other group out in the world quite like Gorillaz. Damon Albarn – the man, the myth, the legend behind Blur – manages time and time again to not only take musical collaboration to another level, but still surprises me with every new release. Even though Humanz wasn’t a flawless record and not quite as strong as their previous work, you still can’t help but respect the boundaries they cross.

 

Bottom line: Gorillaz’s live performance takes things to the next level. With a combination of cool visuals, live collaborations that don’t touch any other any other group, and wide-ranging deep cuts and beloved singles, Gorillaz cannot be missed. True headliners to the core, I hope I won’t have to wait over a decade to see these guys again.

(3a) (M.I.A.’s) setlist

  1. Borders
  2. Go Off
  3. Pull Up The People
  4. Bamboo Banga
  5. Freedun
  6. 20 Dollar
  7. Bucky Done Gun
  8. Bring the Noize
  9. XR2
  10. Born Free

Encore:

  1. Galang
  2. Finally
  3. P.O.W.A.
  4. Ali R U OK?
  5. Bad Girls
  6. Fly Pirate
  7. Paper Planes

(3b) highlights

  • M.I.A!!!!!! Holy shit!!!! What a QUEEN.
  • there are probably only 4 or 5 people on the entirety on planet earth cooler than M.I.A. and two of them are Han Solo and Indiana Jones, which is not only just Harrison Ford but obviously men that don’t exist – so, what my midnight stupor is trying to say is that M.I.A. is fucking COOL. like, people don’t get it. she oozes perfection. she’s basically my Beyonce is what I’m saying.
  • did you know that M.I.A. is not only a mother but 42 years old. she’s 42. like. okay.
  • her outfit, stage set-up, and general energy were so badass, I couldn’t even handle it.
  • my soul transcended during “Paper Planes,” the end
  • I could write a 25-page thesis on why “Bad Girls” is the sexiest music video of all time. M.I.A. didn’t play the video or anything, but it’s almost impossible for me to disassociate it from the song itself, and goddamn it was so hot.
  • M.I.A. brought a dude up wearing some of her merch and thousands of people basically watched this guy twerk up a storm and it was incredible.
  • my best friend and roommate is also brown like Maya and this show was actually on her birthday and she’s worshipped her forever, so basically watching her watch the show was pretty incredible.
  • I feel like I took great photos during her set, which was awesome.

(3c) lowlights

  • she showed up a little late, which is fine because M.I.A. is a queen and I would wait for her until the end of the earth.

(3d) overall thoughts

There’s truly nothing I could say about M.I.A., her incredible vitality to not only brown culture, refugees, general musicianship and artistry, and women, that hasn’t already been said. So I won’t even try. All I can really say is that artists like M.I.A. matter for so many reasons. Maya Arulpragasam represents pretty much every aspect of minority culture from her gender, religion, age, culture, taste, citizenship, and countless others, and seeing her in her element perform for a crowd of thousands was legendary.

Bottom line: Getting to see M.I.A. wasn’t only one of the highlights of 2017, but a highlight of my adult life. Seeing such a strong, independent, fully realized woman, mother, and artist create and perform something so distinctly her was inspiring, uplifting, and truly earth-shattering for me.

Blur 10/23/15

(a) setlist

  1. Go Out
  2. There’s No Other Way
  3. Lonesome Street
  4. Badhead
  5. End of a Century
  6. Ghost Ship
  7. Coffee & TV
  8. Out of Time
  9. Country Sad Ballad Man
  10. Beetlebum
  11. Thought I Was a Spaceman
  12. Trimm Trabb
  13. Tender
  14. Parklife
  15. Song 2
  16. To The End
  17. This Is a Low

Encore:

  1. Stereotypes
  2. Girls & Boys
  3. For Tomorrow
  4. The Universal

(b) highlights

  • dude!!! BLUR!!!!
  • in the 4th row of the pit at a sold-out Madison Square Garden – only the second time in the band’s career playing = AMAZING
  • this was easily one of the best shows of 2015, probably in the top 10 ever – the crowd was unbelievable (perhaps the best I ever witnessed in the Garden), the set was unrelentingly phenomenal, Damon Albarn was TOP NOTCH, and seriously everything about it was the highest of levels
  • the band management (presumably) had been going through the crowd and pulling out the people having the best time and brought them all on-stage for “Parklife”; Damon let this super cool 17-ish-year-old black chick do the talking parts of the song and she straight up KILLED IT – everyone was cheering her along and Damon was definitely impressed, even hugging her at the end of it
  • it was one of those strangely perfect shows where it honestly felt like every single person around me knew every song
  • I feel like the pictures I took were most indicative of the performance – crazy water everywhere, blurred (ha) faces in the crowd, awesome lighting – all of it
  • the massive crowd singalong during “Tender” was truly one of the most moving moments in recent concert memory; it’s not something I’ll forget for a very long time

(c) lowlights

  • this really isn’t a bad thing but a douchebag in the pit literally dumped his entire cup of beer right on Damon like three songs in; Damon laughed and kept going, but like what???? I would’ve been piiiiiissed if it was me

(d) overall thoughts

One of the best shows of 2015. Hands down. Perhaps one of the best shows I’ve ever gone to in my life. I’ve been a fan of Blur for awhile – I discovered them about the same time I found Oasis…and I actually always preferred Oasis. Regardless, I’ve thought Blur was awesome and their last album, The Magic Whip, was one of the best of their career, so there was no way I was gonna miss this show. My friends are also massive Blur fans – perhaps even more so than me, so we knew this show was gonna be special.

Somewhere around “There’s No Other Way” I realized this show was gonna be one for the books. Damon, Graham Coxon, Alex James, and Dave Rowntree were all in top freaking form – it was especially great to watch Graham all night. Damon frequently came up to the crowd and interacted, whether taking people’s hands or gifts (a packet of stickers I believe was one?). It felt like the entire crowd – both in the pit and in the seats – was so incredibly present for nearly every song. One of my favorite moments ever was a near-acoustic singalong to “Tender,” a truly beautiful song that I swear transcended that entire goddamn venue. Watching members of the crowd – clearly huge Blur fans – join the band on-stage to sing one of the ultimate classic tracks of all time “Parklife” made me so, so happy.

The encore, especially “Girls & Boys,” was just so joyful, it was impossible to feel any more elated. You know a show is next-level when people around you are stepping outside of themselves and the performance before them to say aloud, “Wow, this show is amazing.” Those are my favorite moments, and this show was chock-full of them.

Bottom line: Blur are some of the best performers I’ve ever seen, and there was something seriously special about this Madison Square Garden performance; this one is one for the books.