Event Review & Photos: Peter Zebak & Vanessa Diaz
Additional Images: Getty

This past Friday marked the return of eclectic virtual band Gorillaz and the Escape To Plastic Beach tour, which made it’s stop to Madison Square Garden in New York City. Backed by a live band, Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of N.E.R.D. hyped the crowd dropping anthems like “Lapdance” and their new single “Hot-n-Fun”, off their November album release entitled Nothing. With a brief intermission and the lights down low, a barrage of back up singers, funk brass ensemble, violins, and members of the Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music took their place, while Mos Def hosted in true character mode playing ringmaster for the evening. Vocalist Yukimi Nagano of Swedish electronic group Little Dragons playfully teased the audience with “Empire Ants” and “To Binge”. With the air filled in anticipation, frontman Damon Albarn took center stage for what would be one of the most eclectic and memorable all-star shows to take place this year. The larger than life screen displayed video animation courtesy of Jamie Hewlitt, as the musicians played the latest saga of our beloved friends- Murdoc, Noodle, 2D, Russell and their Plastic Beach adventures.

For many this was not a concert, it was a true roller coaster experience. From the crowd applause to the interactive set design was sheer genius. Let us not forget the all-star line up. Ask yourselves, when is the next time you will be able to be a part of something this legendary again? Not to mention the semi- Clash reunion, which was magic in itself. Albarn recruited guitarist Mick Jones and bassist Paul Simonon (both make appearances on Plastic Beach) as part of his live band tour. For those that don’t know, this marked the duo’s first time onstage together in more than 25 years. R&B legend Bobby Womack tore the roof off the stadium with “Stylo” accompanied by Mos Def as well as his more intimate showcase of “Cloud of Unknowing”. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any bigger, Long Island natives and hip hop maestro’s De La Soul made a classic appearance performing “Superfast Jellyfish” and “Feel Good Inc.” Velvet Underground Lou Reed made a brief appearance with some technical difficulty which regardless set the crowd both young and old into a state of frenzy performing “Some Kind of Nature”. Pharcyde member Booty Brown made a cameo performance with “Dirty Harry”. As the stage began to dim it’s lights to a soothing blue, the audience had the chance to say goodbye to their 3-hour tour ending perfectly with “Demon Days”. A truly remarkable night. Take a look at what went down.

Courtesy: Ayako

Concert Set-List:
1. Orchestral Intro
2. Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach
3. 19/2000 (with Miho Hatori)
4. Last Living Souls
5. Stylo (Bobby Womack and Mos Def)
6. On Melancholy Hill
7. Rhinestone Eyes
8. Superfast Jellyfish (with De La Soul)
9. Tomorrow Comes Today
10. Some Kind of Nature (with Lou Reed)
11. Empire Ants (with Yukimi Nagano)
12. Dirty Harry (with Bootie Brown)
13. El Mañana
14. White Flag (The American Syrian Orchestra with Bashy)
15. To Binge (with Yukimi Nagano)
16. DARE (with Rosie Wilson)
17. Glitter Freeze
18. Sweepstakes (with Mos Def)
19. Plastic Beach

20. Cloud of Unknowing (with Bobby Womack)
21. Feel Good Inc. (with De La Soul)
22. Clint Eastwood (with Bashy)
23. Don’t Get Lost In Heaven
24. Demon Days