The huge free Gorrilaz concert held at London’s 02 Arena featured a guest appearance by The Cure frontman Robert Smith. The group also revealed three new collaborative tracks.
The event was free for NHS workers and was a tribute to all the sacrifices NHS staff have made throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic. Gorrilaz used the show as an opportunity to thank them for their hard work.
Attendees were treated to an array of guest appearances, including an early walk-on from Robert Smith, singer of The Cure. Smith Joined Gorrilaz for ‘Strange Timez’, the lead track from their seventh studio album Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez, released last year.
Gorillaz’s shows are renowned for including many guest spots, and as the night went on, New Order’s Peter Hook, Popcaan, Leee John, Fatoumata Diawara, Shaun Ryder and Rowetta, Slowthai and Slaves, De La Soul‘s Posdunos, EARTHGANG, Little Smiz and Sweetie Irie all made an appearance. Damon Albarn was at the helm the whole night, performing all the hits from Gorrilaz 23-year discography.
In the middle of their set, Gorillaz also revealed three new collaborative tracks: ‘Meanwhile’ with Jelani Blackman, ‘Jimmy Jimmy’ with AJ Tracey and ‘De Ja Vu’ with Alicai Harley. The tracks were played back to back, and by all accounts, went down a storm.
The performance follows comments by Damon Albarn about a possible Blur reunion, as well as some new “carnival-themed” Gorillaz music. Albarn said that the record will bring the virtual band back to its roots. Of the album, he said: “I’ve been working on carnival-themed music with Gorillaz with a lot of people from west London. We’re really going back to the spirit of the first record”.
Albarn is obviously excited about working on the new project, adding: “We’ve been really enjoying it. It’s a nice kind of counter-balance to ‘The Nearer The Fountain’, really. I’ve definitely needed a dose of something else after I finished that record. Steel pan drums and Casio MT-40s were always going to be a good cure.”
Watch Robert Smith’s performance with Gorillaz below.