Some of the biggest goosebump moments, though, come from the songs that fall somewhere between anthemic stadium pop and smudgy mood pieces. Even an insomniac’s obsessive YouTube expedition to listen to every live version of “Beetlebum” ever (trust me) would probably not uncover a version showcasing a better vocal from Albarn, let alone an instrumental finale that rises to the occasion quite like Graham Coxon’s squalling solo does here. Elsewhere, the brassy, pitch-perfect closer “The Universal” showers the crowd with generous handfuls of sonic confetti, and live favorite “Tender” is, as always, divine. Coxon’s bluesy refrain, “Oh my babyyyy,” has become the “Freebird!” of Blur shows– you can hear some strains of it travel, request-like, through the crowd while the band tunes up for another song earlier in the set. Backed by gospel singers, Albarn’s vocal is powerful, but the audience feels like the frontpeople on this 9-plus-minute rendition as they steer the mantra-like refrain rippling through the park. Tens of thousands of voices strong, it’s still got an intimacy about it, like the biggest, greatest campfire singalong ever.
Pitchfork reviews Blur’s possibly-last-live-album release, Parklive. [via Pitchfork]