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Last Night

Live Review: Gorillaz at Gibson Amphitheatre

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Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge Gorillaz: an unprecedented revue - TIMOTHY NORRIS
  • Timothy Norris
  • Gorillaz: an unprecedented revue

Say you dreamed up a virtual band with a friend of yours who's a comic book artist. Say a bunch of instruments were lying around waiting for you to pick and pluck at them, and a bunch of friends kept dropping by to play. You'd act like a kid. No, you'd act like Damon Albarn did last night.

Albarn is the frontman for the musical collective he created with Jamie Hewlett, Gorillaz, and much has been made over the star-stuffed lineups for "Escape to Plastic Beach," the band's first world tour.

Indeed, most of the guests murmured to appear did so last night--De La Soul, Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon, Lou Reed, Bobby Womack--but the show was much more than the sum of Albarn's friends in high places. After all, this is Los Angeles; if they aren't out of town on their own tours, any number of surprise special guests pops up onstage at concerts.

click to enlarge Lou Reed: honorary Gorilla - TIMOTHY NORRIS
  • Timothy Norris
  • Lou Reed: honorary Gorilla
And the guest spots last night felt a little weird, anyway. With the exception of Lou Reed (who, in typical deadpan, talked his "Some Kind of Nature" lyrics before delivering a short but blistering guitar solo), the guests surfaced, sang, and slunk off with little fanfare.

At first, it seemed maybe the three giant video screens, catering to the full house, would steal the show. Considering the band is virtual, that might've been ok. The dimming of the stage lights while the next video began drummed up a sort of child-like anticipation: oooo, who's gonna come out next?!

Projected videos and vignettes fleshed with Hewlett's loping, slouching, slightly maniacal characters and jumpstarted by sudden violence shattering serene images were so absorbing it was difficult to tear your eyes away to the live action onstage.

click to enlarge Damon: Head Gorilla - TIMOTHY NORRIS
  • Timothy Norris
  • Damon: Head Gorilla

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