Words by Ariana Roberts
“I never feel as if we’re performing for anything other than this sort of weird family… I feel a connection with you lot.” – Damon Albarn, Toronto, October 9th, 2018
I was lucky enough to be one of that lot that the beloved leader of Gorillaz was addressing. It was obvious that the connection he felt was mutual. I have rarely seen a concert that had such a palpable sense of love and appreciation as this one. From start to finish, almost the entire crowd was on their feet, if not full-on dancing. Damon Albarn wandered into the quicksand of fans more than once, grinning and singing and trailing his hands through the loving crowd. The full Gorillaz crew was there, including six super-slick backup singers, and the whole band showed their love for the locals, a couple of them wearing Raptors and Maple Leafs jerseys. It was one big party of strangers, brought together by the unique energy that the band played.
The whole show felt like a taster’s choice of the group’s greatest hits. The familiar Gorillaz cartoon world played behind them as they perfectly executed classics from Demon Days, highlights from Plastic Beach, and gems from their new album. A few people beelined for the exits at the end of the show, and they should know they missed out. After two straight minutes of cheering and clapping, the crowd was rewarded with “NOW NOW” flashing on the screen on stage, as if comforting a baby you’re about to feed. The entire band came back out and treated us to another half hour of their best songs.
I left the Scotiabank Arena that night absolutely buzzing, the epitome of “high on life.” I didn’t know at the time that it was the first night of the The Now Now Tour, but I know that must have been the perfect way to kick it off. Also the perfect way to end a Thanksgiving weekend – with a body sore from dancing and a heart full of joy.