Gorillaz, Vector Arena, December 21, 2010

I used to mock pirates for making maps with the location of their buried loot, but it doesn’t seem such a silly idea now after hiding –then failing to find again– my ticket to the Gorillaz’ “last live performance, ever”.

I guess it really is pointless having super ninja hidey-hole skills if your memory is crap. You’d have thought I’d learnt that lesson the time I hid our passports and didn’t un-find them until after we’d gone and returned from our OE years later. (And after forking out for replacements.)

My memory is so bad, I don’t even actually recall receiving the tickets. All I remember is ordering them, then waking some months later thinking Shit! Where’s My Gorillaz Tickets?!

I searched the house several times before admitting defeat and calling Ticketmaster’s lost ticket line. I wasn’t hopeful, seeing as their website declared, in bold text, that lost General Admission tickets would not be replaced “under any circumstances”. But arranging a replacement pickup in this digital age of barcode-scanned tickets was easy.
Almost a little too easy…
I started to worry that perhaps this was all part of a rival ninja clan plan and that they had intercepted the courier in the first place, knowing that I would wind up at the ticket booth on the evening of the concert.

So I got there extra early in order to out-ninja them. Lucky I did. The show-ID-and-get-replacement process took just 30 seconds and while I was hiding afterwards waiting for a friend to turn up, a rival ninja revealed himself. Well, they weren’t wearing a costume or anything, but the somersault they executed while running from the nearby park onto the road as they headed to the ticket boot had pure ‘Assassin’ written all over it.

With the ambush foiled, I could now relax and enjoy the concert.­­­­

The Gathered ranged from comic book convention geeks through to bogans and homies, which was fitting seeing as Gorillaz is the multimedia visual brainchild of former Blur frontman Damon Albarn and cartoonist Jamie Hewlett, and various rappers and remnants of punk rock have laid tracks for the collective project.

Hip-hopping collaborators De La Soul stepped out onto the stage early to performing support duties. They got the crowd warmed up with a mass bouncing and waving of hands in the air, and even tried starting a turf war by splitting the crowd into an Eastside and a Westside and then playing one off against the other to see whose shit was the dopest. Orsum. No one got shot though.
I kept waiting for them to play Mr Wendell, but then realized that I’d mixed them up with Arrested Development. Like I said, my memory is not so good sometimes.

It was my first time in general admission at the Vector Arena and I was impressed by how close the stage was from down there. Plus, you’re already on your feet, so all you do is dance.

The Gorillaz made their entrance with the virtual cartoon frontband members being shown on a big screen above the stage, bickering that the warmup act was taking too long to clear off. The animation amazing.

Then the non-virtual musicians took the stage – a whopping 22 to start with, which later swelled to 35, and included the likes of De La Soul, soul legend Bobby Womack, the Clash’s Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, a clutch of hot violin chicks, a brass band, and even an Arabic orchestra at one stage. Oh as well as Albarn. There he was. Front and centre. As animated as the cartoon animations that have helped make the band’s music videos so popular and sell a shitload of t-shirts.

At times you wondered whether you were at a movie or a concert as your neck got sore switching between the art on the big screen and the artists on the stage. Oh wait, we were definitely at a concert because there was that constant flow of people through the packed masses, to and from the bar, and a constant flow of beer spilt from plastic cups to the floor and my shoes. Fuckers.

I found Jones and Simonon a little subdued on rhythm guitar and bass, but then they went and destroyed my hearing right near the end by unleashing on Punk and Plastic Beach. I’ve never heard the Vector arena so loud. Felt good.

The extended encore included the big hits Feel Good inc, and Clint Eastwood, which was a great way to go out.

With so many musicians and so much animation costing so much money to come so far, it’s no surprise that this was their first world tour and “final outing” as a collective. Glad the “lost” ticket and rival ninjas didn’t stop me from seeing it.

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