the red penguin

Blur, Wu Lu – City Hall, Newcastle

Have to say that £64 isn’t too bad for a band like Blur these days

I was excited to get tickets to see Blur again at Wembley but even more excited when I saw that they were doing four “small” warm up shows – in Colchester, Eastbourne, Wolverhampton and Newcastle.

Naturally I would have preferred Colchester – the smallest venue of the lot (where I have previously seen Elastica, Futureheads, My Life Story and Young Knives), and a “home town” show for the band too. However I was on holiday for that gig and the Eastbourne one, which left the other two. So I managed to line up two computers to try and get tickets – and … success!

It didn’t bother me that I had to go to Newcastle to see them – a journey of over 250 miles. I thought, oh well, a nice trip up there on the train, it’s a long distance one so it must be a good journey. Erm, NO, my ticket was on a terrible privatised train called Lumo and we spent 3 hours herded into a tiny Ryanair-sized seat like cattle with no refreshments on board and none coming round either. Maybe I should have driven …

Newcastle was pretty nice – it’s the first time I’ve ever spent any time in the town. We booked into our hotel and when the time was right, walked 30 minutes or so through the town centre to reach our destination, the 2,135-capacity Newcastle City Hall, skilfully missing most of the support act, Wu Lu (who to be fair were not bad from what we saw).

So this would be our first “small” Blur gig since the Margate warm up in 2012 at the Winter Gardens. It was HOT. And we are TIRED! Two hours of shuffling around for space, knocking everyone about and shouting and yelling took its toll. Near the end I worked my way to the bar at the back where they had laid out 100 cups of cold water. I think I drank all of them.

The new songs from the forthcoming album The Ballad Of Darren are sounding great. It was fantastic to hear some of my favourite tracks – Chemical World, Villa Rosie, Tracy Jacks, Sunday Sunday, even Bank Holiday (since it is one tomorrow). Even the slowies were good – well, Tender is still about 3 minutes too long. I particularly liked This Is A Low – a great way to end the main set.

Nothing from The Magic Whip though, which the band now seem to have disowned. It’s an album I loved when it was released, although it sounds pretty average now (for Blur). Only one from Think Tank too; thankfully it was the Good One.

Roll on Wembley and roll on Darren.


  • Tales Of The Unexpected (Theme) (from tape)
  • St Charles Square
  • There’s No Other Way
  • Popscene
  • Tracy Jacks (First time live since 2013)
  • Chemical World
  • Young & Lovely
  • Beetlebum
  • Trimm Trabb
  • Villa Rosie
  • Coffee & TV
  • Out Of Time
  • End Of A Century
  • Parklife
  • Intermission (abandoned after 30 seconds)
  • To The End
  • Sunday Sunday
  • Advert
  • Bank Holiday (First time live since 1997; with two false starts)
  • Song 2
  • This Is A Low


  • Girls & Boys
  • The Narcissist
  • Tender
  • For Tomorrow
  • The Universal

Sunday 28 May 2023, 3494 views

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Gigs index