Blur reunited for the first time in nearly four years for a surprise gig in East London Friday during Damon Albarn’s annual Africa Express concert. Blur last performed together in November 2015 following the release of The Magic Whip.
For the performance, Albarn rejoined his band mates Dave Rowntree, Alex James and Graham Coxon to play “Song 2,” “Tender” and “Clover Over Dover”; the latter performance marked the live debut of the Parklife track. For “Tender,” the band was joined by London Community Gospel Choir and Rokia Traoré.
Blur rehearsals for Africa Express: the Circus, last Thursday. That awkward moment when one of Africa Express musicians almost ruined the surprise by posting this photo on Instagram.@blurofficial @Damonalbarn @grahamcoxon @TheAlexJames @DaveRowntree @africaexpress pic.twitter.com/tdT1Bm9bRC
— Damon Albarn (@DamonUnofficial) March 30, 2019
Albarn’s Africa Express shows, which have taken place since 2006, are known for their long sets and surprise guests, especially bringing musicians together from around the world. In the past, Paul McCartney, Paul Weller and Johnny Marr have performed with renowned African artists Baaba Maal, Oumou Sangaré and Fatoumata Diawara.
Earlier in March, Albarn released new single “The Truce of Twilight” alongside his supergroup the Good, the Bad & the Queen, which includes Clash bassist Paul Simonon, ex-Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen and Verve guitarist Simon Tong. The Good, the Bad & the Queen has a series of live dates scheduled across the U.K. this spring, beginning March 30th with a set at the 6 Music Festival in Liverpool.