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Blur Plays First Show In Eight Years, Debuts Two New Songs

The band's surprise new album, 'The Ballad of Darren,' will arrive on July 21
Photo: Reuben Bastienne-Lewis

Blur capped off a big week highlighted by the announcement of a surprise new album with a short-notice show last night (May 19) in Colchester, England, from where three of its members hail.

The 23-song gig at the Colchester Arts Centre featured the debut of two songs from the upcoming LP The Ballad of Darren: the riffy set opener “St. Charles Square” and the slower-building new single “The Narcissist.”

Elsewhere, Blur delivered “Villa Rosie” for the first time live (the track hails from 1993’s Modern Life is Rubbish) as well as other concert rarities “Popscene,” “Chemical World,” and “Oily Water,” all of which were played for the fir first time in at last a decade, per

Naturally, the audience was treated to Blur’s ’90s Brit-rock staples such as “Song 2,” “Girls & Boys,” “There’s No Other Way,” “Beelebum,” and “Parklife.”

Chosen due to group members Dave Rowntree, Damon Albarn, and Graham Coxon’s ties to the city, the Colchester show came ahead of Blur’s summer reunion tour, which is highlighted by a July 8-9 stand at London’s Wembley Stadium.