22 June 2001, Gorillaz, La Cigale, Paris, France
reviewed by Virginie Sabin
I've never ever heard nor seen anything like that before.
I'd been listening to the Gorillaz album quite a lot, and been getting into it more and more. It'd really been growing, revealing its high quality. Damon is a really talented musician (one of the most talented ever?)
I knew I was going to attend a very special gig; can it be called a gig anyway? Let's say a show. I knew I wouldn't see the performers, or at least not clearly; I know they would be hidden behind a screen where cartoons were to be shown.
I really wondered if the audience would dare, or even feel like acting like in "normal" shows, jumping around, singing, clapping their hands etc... I doubted it actually. I found it difficult to be enthusiastic in front of fake performers.
La Cigale is an old theatre with red seats and all the rest painted black. The screen was standing on the stage, so we thought we would see better if we got upstairs. We found seats next to the projectors (which were heating a lot).
We got there at about 7 and waited till 9 (a DJ kept playing old records, from Cure to AC DC...)
They turned off the lights, and tiny images started to appear on the black curtain, with the first lines of M1A1: "Hello! Is there anyone there?"
As the images grew, the music was becoming stronger and stronger till the song and the guitar riffs really started as the curtain fell down.
I've never heard nor seen anything like that. I felt like crying, straight on. The crowd was amazingly excited, even if they couldn't see the musicians. The most surprising and inventive show had just started. From time to time, we could guess Damon was there, apparently really happy to perform in such unusual conditions, but he was really at it. His way of moving, bending, his attitude are familiar to me. Recognising him was really easy. I wasn't that frustrated not to be able to see him (but that's maybe because Maryse & I, known as Two's A Crowd had interviewed him and Jamie Hewlett a few hours before).
Tomorrow comes today was great, deeper than on the album, I think. They didn't show the promo video, it was another editing of the same images.
Then came Slow country and 5/4, which seemed to be one of the crowd's favourites, though I personally found that song difficult at first listen because of the 5/4 time. It'd become one of my favourites too; Damon has that particular way of saying "come on" which I find really moving.
Starshine was the moment when Damon was most recognisable. He was at the centre of the screen surrounded by some kind of sun rays. Maryse cried a lot during that one. His voice was so high and so perfect she couldn't help it.
Man research and Soundcheck (gravity) were really cool, some kind of resting before Latin Simone, in which Damon pretended to be Ibrahim Ferrer, singing voiceless in his mike.
Re-Hash seemed to particularly please the audience. During the song, we began to see a tall guy with dreadlocks, which wasn't on stage from the beginning. He was in fact preparing for Clint Eastwood on which we could for the first time hear clearly the whole audience sing 2D's part. Del's part was totally different than on the album, and for the first time in my life I clapped hands on a hip hop song. The guy did a great job, Clint Eastwood is definitely a great song.
Of course, the rapper stayed there for Rock da House. It wasn't really my cup of tea, but I must admit the live version is far better than the studio one.
Then Dracula. As if Damon couldn't help playing Bsides!
When Punk started, everybody was completely mad! The 3 claps after each verse were really impressive.
19/2000 came then. The people seemed to be waiting for it. It did really well. But when the lights were turned on again, we just couldn't believe it was already over. Of course, there could be no encore, no unprepared song, cause all of them were to much linked to the video part.
Anyway, we tried and asked for more. And after about ten minutes, the screen enlightened, and Russel said they would start again in 10 minutes if the technicians could do something.
The crowd went mad and more and more impatient at the same time. Murdoc (?) said in French that after plugging in all the stuff they were gonna play two more songs: Tomorrow comes today and Clint Eastwood.
That's what they did, but you can't imagine how the atmosphere was great. Everyone was standing and dancing. I still couldn't believe what I was seeing.
My review is far from perfect, cause I could have tried to describe the cartoons, speak about what they said between the songs, tell about how Damon seemed relaxed and happy, feeling glad, having sunshine in a bag.
It's 1:30 in the morning, I've just come back from the show. Damon sent Maryse & I a kiss with his hand while coming out of the theatre. He made my day.
You'll all hear about our interview soon. Maryse did a great job with her questions. Now there's a lot of work to do to write down what Damon and Jamie told us.
Virginie (Two's A Crowd)
Damon & Jamie Interview here
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