Walking into the Little Caesars Arena and looking at the crowd that had come to see the Gorillaz, you can truly understand how diverse their discography is. From 14 year olds to 50 year olds, dressed in all fashions from scene from Lolita to cosplays of the band members–fictional characters developed by vocalist Damon Albarn.
The opening act was Atlanta hip-hop duo EARTHGANG, who took the stage with a full band and a set of bar chimes that the duo would aggressively use more times than I could count. Their music was whimsical and seemed authentic. They had the crowd super energetic, as they blasted through their songs full of affirmations. Stand out songs were Proud of U, Bank, and This Side.
After a smoke-machine-filled gap between EARTHGANG and Gorillaz, Damon Albarn entered the stage to much fanfare. I found the demeanors of the band incredibly rehearsed and dramatic, and felt that they were focused on looking like they were having fun more than interacting with each other. Their two hour setlist was bolstered by three percussionists and a four-piece choir, which both added to the cinematic nature of the music.
As the set continued, Damon and his band became more comfortable on stage, and the rest of the show seemed much more authentic and enjoyable to watch. It was always a highlight when Damon played the piano, as he seemed to melt into its keys and really connect with the music himself.
The two hour set spanned most of their discography, but their 4 song encore was definitely the high point. Playing the songs most of the audience had been waiting for the whole set (Feel Good Inc. and Clint Eastwood), they brought out Bootie Brown and De La Soul. The featured artists were able to hype up and engage the crowd in a way that outshined the Gorillaz, but their performance added immensely to the songs as well. As Clint Eastwood, the last song, closed Sweetie Irie hopped out on stage and played the reggae-dance remix of the song that was popular in British dance clubs.
The concert in all was a respectable show that tied together all aspects of the expansive band, but I hope in future concerts the members are able to truly perform earnestly, instead of the robotic style they had. Truly the most memorable parts of the concert were EARTHGANG and the countless guests brought on stage by Albarn.