Virtual band Gorillaz have hit the road in support of their fifth LP Humanz, released earlier this year. The Humanz Tour was much anticipated by fans after the six-year hiatus from the band, circling around the U.S. throughout October before heading to Europe. The full band was overall a class act, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to witness them live.
American rapped Vince Staples made his way onto stage as smoke filled the air. He begun his set with “Birds & Bees” and “Homeage” underneath deep red lighting. Thunder rumbled the arena as Staples danced in the shadows to “Rain Come Down.” Crowd favorites included “745” and “Yeah Right” as Staples encouraged interaction and participation. His half hour set got fans excited for the night to come with his great beats and primarily bass heavy tracks. Staples continued to be interactive and left the crowd wanting more, moving around the stage for “Big Fish and “Norf Norf.”
The second opening act included American rapper Danny Brown and a live DJ. Brown’s energy was massive, constantly jumping across the stage. The audience enjoyed tracks “Drink and Smoke,” “Grown Up,” and “25 Bucks.” The stage filled with smoke occasionally, creating a haunting effect. Electronic music washed in and out as white strobe lights struck the venue. Brown’s comical persona was a bonus charm for entertainment as he had the whole venue bursting into laughter during “Golddust.”
Gorillaz took the stage, and it was by surprise how many souls go into the process of their music. I was blown away by the complexity and diversity of sounds during the entire performance. As to be expected, the majority of the songs performed were from the new album, even including the interludes on the record. The set begun with classic tracks “M1 A1” and outcry “Last Living Souls,” setting a relaxing, reggae tone. Soon after, green lights set a mellow mood before busting into crowd favorite “Rhinestone Eyes,” and fans moved to the funk dance track without any cares in the world. The elaborate puzzle artwork on the giant screens, old school microphone/vocals, and choir of background vocals were all nice touches.
The elaborate scenes continued, displaying artwork of the universe for “Every Planet We Reach Is Dead.” The soulful ballad filled fans with empathy through the organ sounding keys, rhythmic drums, and heavy bass. Another great entertainment piece was “Sleeping Powder,” as the Victorian sound effects drew me in closer to every lyric sung. Grand harmonies created a feeling of swimming through the deep-sea for softer track “On Melancholy Hill.” Front-man Damon Albarn gave a curtsy with his last guitar strum in response to the crowd’s cheer of approval. Phones lit up the arena like stars in the night sky during lonely sounding track “Busted and Blue.” Bass rumbled the arena while Albarn looked up to the single light shining upon him, almost like he was looking to a higher power for answers.
Post interlude, the venue turned into a monumental dance party as special guests joined the stage. Upbeat track “Sex Murder Party” featured Jamie Principle and Zebra Katz, “Ascension” guest-starred opener Vince Staples, and Peven Everett joined the stage for “Strobelite.” The entire band joined the ultimate party, diving into each sound and piece of work. It was evident not only every member on stage, but every audience member, was living in and enjoying the moment. Hands flew into the air and radiated positivity as Camille Berthomier made an appearance for “We Got The Power.”
Gorillaz made it a mission to unite the arena with “Kids With Guns.” Singer Albarn hopped off the stage to face the crowd, shaking hands as he snuck around the floor. Meanwhile, bassist Seye Adelekan and guitarist Jeff Wootton were on their knees front and center for an electrifying mid song build up, shredding their hearts out. For a few solid continuous minutes, the crowd roared for an encore. As the band joined back on stage, funky bass filled the arena. Fans cheered with excitement as “Stylo” was next in line. The band gave all the energy they had, and everyone was so perfectly in sync with the each other and the music. Albarn thanked the crowd for coming out, taking in the round of applause that echoed throughout the venue. He was followed by hysterical laughter which led into hit “Feel Good Inc.” and the crowd joined in the laughter. Drum blasts exploded into “Clint Eastwood,” and the night soon ended with hit “Demon Days.”