Mavis Staples, who also sings on the track, appeared during the performance as an almost spectral entity thanks to a pre-recorded video that hovered over the Gorillaz during the singer’s resounding chorus.
The performance marked Gorillaz’s first late-night U.S. television appearance since a 2010 stop to David Letterman’s Late Show (an episode that, ironically, featured current host Stephen Colbert as a guest). Albarn’s crew also performed a 45-minute “Live on Letterman” concert during the visit.
Humanz, the cartoon band’s proper follow-up to 2010’s Plastic Beach, is out now. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Albarn discussed squeezing out the necessary contributions from the all-star guests on the album.
“Every conversation with every artist went like this: ‘I want this record to embody pain, joy and urgency. We are using our dark fantasies to imagine something happening in this town in the near future, that is turning the world on its head,'” Albarn said.
“No one was allowed to say ‘Trump’ or ‘Obama.’ Those who tried, you can hear the bleeps on the record where their names were. I didn’t want names, because this is not about that moment. That was the fuel for it. ‘Imagine how the world will be if that happens.'”