I saw Blur twice in concert. The first time was a special show at Roseland Ballroom in New York City in which the main set basically 13 from start to finish, with the exception of “Caramel” and “Optigan 1.” This video is from that era, and has them doing the record in sequence minus those songs and “Trimm Trabb,” which is a strange omission since that song has stuck around in virtually every Blur set since the record came out. It’s kind of a dark horse favorite. The performances of “Swamp Song,” “Battle” and “No Distance Left to Run” here are especially great. I find that this album really ages well – it’s all musical and emotional extremes. The stakes seem really high, like if Albarn and Coxon didn’t get all of this out of them in the songs, it would’ve killed them.
With the exception of “Tender” and “Coffee and TV,” I absolutely loathed 13 when it came out. LOATHED. Then I saw them play one of only two US shows that tour in Los Angeles. They played it exactly like described above and it completely won me over.
I’ve had my opinions towards songs change over the years, but never have I had such a complete reversal of opinion about a whole album like that over the span of a concert.
Despite the catchy pop songs from their earlier records that got me into them in the first place, I do find myself going back to this album and their self-titled more than any others.
Now who do we write to to get them to come play the US?