One of the most anticipated gigs of the European festival calendar, the Lucca Summer Festival has a pedigree in attracting international talent to perform at this critically-acclaimed music event in the pretty city of Lucca.

As the blazing hot sun set over the famed city walls, blur emerged to a rapturous crowd and kicked off their vibrant and expansive set with a blistering rendition of the utterly sublime ‘St Charles Square’ taken from their new number one album ‘The Ballad Of Darren’.

Despite it being a relatively new track, thousands of the enthralled fans sung along to those now immortal lines ‘I fucked up / I’m not the first to do it’.

This then segued into the shimmering grooves of ‘There’s No Other Way’, their breakthrough hit from 1991’s ‘Leisure’ which was a kaleidoscopic swirl of youthful exuberance which still resonates with the same vivacity over 31 years later.

This was swiftly followed by a frenetic ‘Popscene’, the punchy ‘Tracy Jacks’ and ‘Beetlebum’ with its iconic metronomic riffs executed perfectly from the masterful Graham Coxon.

His kaleidoscopic guitars have always elevated blur’s sound alongside impeccable bass playing from the ever-jovial Alex James and the thunderous drums from Dave Rowntree.

Ever a charismatic frontman and fantastic songwriter, Damon Albarn’s passion and energy was evident and he played a huge part in whipping the crowd into a frenzy.

Photo Credit:  Frances Coprandoni
Photo Credit: Frances Coprandoni

This was undoubtedly a nostalgic look back at their illustrious back catalogue, which was an impeccable highlight reel of their illustrious career from the transcendental ‘This is A Low’ to the luscious art-pop magic of ‘The Universal’.

But, it was also an opportunity for the four-piece to effortlessly showcase tracks from their new album ‘The Ballad of Darren’.

Despite being new material, the songs from ‘Darren’ are set to be deft masterpieces with standout tracks like ‘The Narcissist’ and ‘Barbaric’ thrilling the crowd.

This was an electrifying and assured performance from the quartet and their enduring and endearing friendship was evident.

In ‘Tender’, Damon showed pure emotion and gave a vital and hypnotic performance, whilst in ‘Parklife’ and ‘Girls & Boys’, Damon in the former channelled the iconic Phil Daniels’ and delivered his iconic monologue with his own charm and swagger whilst donning his original Fila tracksuit from the Girls and Boys music video for the latter.

Photo Credit:  Frances Coprandoni
Photo Credit: Frances Coprandoni

After a triumphant and transcendent  set, blur closed with a spine tingling and captivating rendition of the beautiful and elegiac ‘The Universal’ which is one of blur’s finest tracks. Passionate, powerful and assured, this was blur at their very best.

Yes – it really, really, really did happen and blur’s performance at Lucca was an absolute masterclass and celebration of the band’s legacy.

Photo Credit:  Frances Coprandoni

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