The 90s was the decade of grunge in the US, but in the UK, it was the decade of Britpop. Along with the likes of compatriots (and often rivals) such Oasis, Suede, and Pulp, Blur helped to define and popularize the genre. The band – consisting of Damon Albarn on vocals, Graham Coxon on guitar, Alex James on Bass, and Dave Rowntree on drums – recorded a total of seven albums over the course of their original run before splitting in 2003. Coxon left to pursue a solo career. Albarn moved on to find success with his “virtual band” with artist Jamie Hewlett, Gorillaz. James took up cheesemaking, and Rowntree became a solicitor. Fans all but gave up on the idea that the band would play together again.
Until, that is, the end of 2008, when the band announced that they were reuniting for a pair of concerts at Hyde Park in London. From there, the band went on to make a number of festival appearances throughout Europe, and even played Coachella in 2013. All the while, though, the band put down all rumors of a new album, releasing only a few new songs as singles. That changed early this year, though, with the release of the single “Go Out” in February along with the announcement of the band’s eighth album, The Magic Whip, to follow in March. Soon after, the band finally announced the US shows that North American fans had been waiting for, though with only two dates, at the Hollywood Bowl in LA and Madison Square Garden in New York City, the two biggest concerts the band had ever played in the US. Last week, after months of anticipation, those shows finally arrived.