Blur released its Parklive collection December 3, a two disc set and companion DVD capturing their Hyde Park performance at the close of the London 2012 Olympics. Parklive will come with a 60 page book featuring exclusive photos from the summer’s gigs.
Originally released for download just 24 hours after the Hyde Park show, the current release includes not only a two disc set and companion DVD, but also an additional 5 disc release which includes the two disc Parklive set, DVD and two other discs: Blur – Live At The 100 Club’ which was recorded at their special intimate gig in August and another disc of live songs recorded over the summer, including the rooftop debuts of new tracks ‘Under The Westway’ and ‘The Puritan’, as well as songs taken from Blur’s warm-up show in Wolverhampton and their BBC Radio Maida Vale session. While the Blur that exists in most of our memories has technically not been around for about 10 years, it seems like they never left.
While the “official” closing ceremony of the London Olympics featured an ode to British music, Blur and 80,000 people showed what real British music is about. The best moments from this less formal, but seemingly more authentic performance in Hyde Park include: ‘Girls and Boys,’ mainly because the line “avoiding all work / ’cause there’s none available” seems to have as much, if not more, impact than it did 18 years ago under the current economic climate; and the best part of this live performance is that goose bump inducing moment when the 100,000 voices of the crowd unify to sing the chorus of ‘The Universal’—the quintessential mark of appreciation for a band marking 24 years as part of the world’s and Britain’s culture.
After all, Parklive is a record of how a crowd of about 100,000 people bonded with Albarn, guitarist Graham Coxon, bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree, and throughout Parklive, they sound like the biggest hooligan backup choir on record. James doing his thing on bass makes it apparent to anyone listening to this performance, that this will be “one of those” concerts for long-time fans and new audiences alike. In an interview with NME, prior to the Hyde Park performance, James stated , “I really don’t know what happens next, that’s the only honest answer I can give. It’s precarious though, If Hyde Park is shit, then that’s definitely it.” Rest assured, Hyde Park was anything but, and Blur’s Parklive is documentation of a band’s staying power.