|Official Blur calendar of 1996 with Albarn,|
James, Coxon & Rowntree (left to right)
The Blur live double album, Live At the Budokan
, is now remastered and available on iTunes
via Parlophone Records Ltd. This Japanese-only release was recorded during a 1995 tour for The Great Escape,
the band's fourth out of seven studio albums. I came late to this band, as Brit pop kings Oasis won over listeners in the states during the 90s. The group was originally called Seymour (!), formed in 1989 by vocalist/keyboardist Damon Albarn with guitarist Graham Coxon and bassist Alex James. Drummer Dave Rowntree joined soon afterwards, and they were signed to a subsidiary of EMI Records following only a few gigs and recording that all-important demo tape. Supposedly the label suggested a name change and presented a list, so the guys chose Blur.
Since I never saw them live (although I caught Albarn in a subsequent band, The Good, the Bad & the Queen), this redo is a wonderful guilty pleasure. Take a listen to "Girls & Boys
," one of my very fave Blur songs with its bopping dance vibe and sing along chorus -- although I could do without the fans singled out in Karaoke!