March 31, 2013

Chronicles of a Blur Fan -Mexico Gig Review & pictures 2013

This is Part I of II – a two part series from BlurBalls all about Blur’s 5-day visit to Mexico City, where they played a gig in El Plaza Condesa (March 15th 2013) and then in the huge Vive Latino Festival (March 16th 2013).

For this part, Mirja García writes about her meeting with Blur and reviews the El Plaza Condesa concert.

blur fans, blurmx, blur el plaza condesa review, blur 2013 tour review, blur 2013 review, blur mexico review, blur gig 2013 review, Mirja García blur, damon albarn fan, graham coxon fan, blur newAuthor’s Foreword: Hello Blur fans! This is my 5-day summary of my Blur experience in Mexico (Part II here). First and foremost, I will try to keep it fun and short because I don't want to bore you with words. So, I thought the best idea was for my review of Blur at Mexico to be divided into a "Blur Chronicle" by days. 

I hope you can enjoy my review, experience with meeting Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon and the rest of Blur, and some pictures I took with the band.

Day 1: Wednesday, March 13th 2013 

I had contacted someone few days ago and he was totally nice by picking me up after work, so afterwards we headed to the airport and arrived at 6pm. we really thought Blur would arrive at this day, but sadly it didn't happen. The Blur team, crew and staff arrived this day and told us they were arriving next day at midnight (24 hours). However, the day was worth it as I got to meet other Blur fans, which was so nice because I have never met any other Blur fans before!  I left the airport at 10pm.

Day 2: Thursday, March 14th 2013 

I had expected Blur to arrive in Mexico the day before, so my original plan was to spend this day trying to look for them at the hotel or something. It wasn't that way (as they didn’t arrive yesterday), so a few fans and I planned to head right to the airport again. They HAD to arrive this day! I got there at 6pm- apparently Blur should have arrived at 6:30 or 00:00 hrs (Friday midnight).

It was 8pm, and we had one last hope left. One bloke told us they had arrived one day ago. We all tried hard to hold onto our instincts and hope that they will arrive soon. 11:42pm came, and anxiety started eating us alive. At 00:00 hrs, the same bloke stood in front of us and quietly told us "Just do not scream and try to be calm”. Hearing that made me nervous and relieved- the moment I had been dreaming of for probably for more than 11 years was about to really happen.

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The first member of Blur who came out was Dave Rowntree. And then I just lost it and became very excited when I saw Graham Coxon coming out of the plane. I didn't see Alex James and Damon Albarn walking out because of Graham, who of course got freaked out and said he needed to smoke first

Then I went to Alex; I was so very nervous and he said to me "How are you darling? Are you alright?" Alex signed my magazine and had a smile upon his face.  

And then, there was on my right side came Damon Albarn himself. I got there and he started to sign things. Since I am a small person, it was hard for him to see me and I had to try and get his full attention. Finally, he saw me, and I asked him if I could hug him. Damon nodded, and then I asked for a picture. Right away, he looked at me with his typically deep eyes and a smiley expression, and said: "Oh, I have to stop".

I felt like dying right there on the spot, and what Damon said made me laugh. I told him "Yeah..." and both of us posed for the camera but Blur’s security guard waved her hand in front of our faces and said: "You, everybody, can't take pictures of the inside".

Both Damon and I didn’t care about what the security guard said; Damon was such a saint because he stopped for a very long time, posing with me for pictures. A friend also wanted some photos with Damon but it was too late, he had to go. Damon was very nice that day to all the fans. I have to admit I was scared about meeting him. Because I was worried about making a fool of myself or making the Blur boys upset. My fear turned out to be far from reality – Damon and the band were amazing!

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          damon albarn fan, blur mexico, blurmx, blur mexico el plaza, blur mirja albarndamon albarn fan, blur mexico, blurmx, blur mexico el plaza, blur mirja albarn

At this point, I had to leave. But before I got a chance to leave, Dave (such a lovely man) spoke to me and asked, "How are you?” However at this point, I was so nervous that I didn't quite catch the question. All I said back was "What?" He repeated his question, and I told him "To be honest, I'm dying and going to heaven right now!" Funnily, he replied "Oh, don't you die" and then gave me a big hug.

All that was nice, but I had one thing left to do before I left- I had to catch up with Graham Coxon! Someone told me that he was outside, so I finally found him. He made me lot more nervous than Damon did, but in the end I got another hug and he signed my ‘A+E’ album. He was quiet surprised about seeing my copy of ‘A+E’ and smiled when he saw it. As Blur left on two separate vans, the fans and I gave them a goodbye by singing the chorus of ‘Tender’: "Oh my baby...Oh my baby…Oh my…" It was definitely one of the best four days of my life!
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Top: With Graham Coxon
Bottom: Signed copy of Graham Coxon's eight solo album 'A+E'

Day 3: Friday, March 15th 2013

Review – El Plaza Condesa Concert

I woke up early just to get to the line for the Blur Mexico warm up show and to be right in first row. This day was mostly for waiting for the Blur gig. We knew where they were staying, so we planned that we will visit them later. It was nice as I could speak to lots more fans like me- there were two girls named Carmen and Lizzy who have the most best-looking pictures taken with Blur. They are such nice people; all the Blur fans are. I ended up being so friendly with the fans (shout outs to Michelle, Oscar, Brenda, Scarlett and of course Carmen and Lizzy), I started considering them as part of my “family”!

We waited two hours for the show to begin in the Plaza, and then some people at the gig started playing Gorillaz music. I wonder if Damon heard it because everyone, including me, started singing out loud. The gig turned out, of course, to be the best gig of my entire life!

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The popular "Gramon Inspires Me" sign 

I sang along to each song; I jumped, I smiled. I tried to hold Damon's hand each time he got close to us. I brought with me a "GRAMON INSPIRES ME" sign, and the first member of Blur to see it was Graham. When he saw it, he gave me a beautiful, naughty and embarrassed smile, and then laughed. The second person to see it was Damon- he smiled with an "Oh Dear" expression and turned to look at Graham knowingly. Alex also seemed amused and surprised by my sign. Then one of the blonde trumpet players tried to read the letters, and both Liz and I can read his lips: “GRAMON”. I held it up for a bit more; he laughed, pointed out my sign and called on his other trumpet-playing mate. I think my sign was very popular – it definitely made people laugh.

I enjoyed each song during El Plaza Condesa. During the gig, my camera’s battery died; this proved to be both a good and bad thing. I hated the fact that I could not record the Blur show in HD (which would have looked amazing) but loved the fact that I could enjoy the show and screamed as much as I wanted. Every song was my favorite- I was very surprised when they opened the gig with ‘Popscene’. When ‘There's No Other Way’ came on, it caught me by surprise. ‘Caramel’ was very gorgeous and well played. The encore was marvelous too.

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damon albarn fan, blur mexico, blurmx, blur mexico el plaza, blur mirja albarn

When ‘The Universal’ came, I couldn't hold back the tears anymore because I knew it was going to be the last song. I wanted to make the Blur show go on forever. On a happier note, I managed to get Graham Coxon’s guitar pick at the end of the show- it was the best feeling in the world to touch his guitar pick. 

After the first ever Blur show of 2013, and after watching Blur in my home Mexico for the first time in 10 years, I went to sleep with a smile upon my face.

Written by Mirja García
(@MirjaLolita on Twitter)
Read Part II 

January 18, 2013

Interview with a Blur Fan: Diana Vasquez

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Diana Vasquez is a vibrant and dedicated Blur fan from California who creates and uploads some of the most interesting Blur videos in cyberspace. 

Many of the Blur, The Good The Bad and The Queen, Gorillaz and other band footages circulating around are uploaded by her using her alias “TracyJackAlbarn”.

We interviewed her recently about her devotion for Blur, video editing, Blur t-shirts and got to know a bit more about why she got into the band’s music in the first place and became a lifelong fan of the band.

1) To start off, tell us a little about yourself.  

My Name is Diana and I'm 20 years old. Though most people online (either from Youtube, Facebook etc.) know me as the huge blur fan "TracyJackAlbarn" who uploads archive Blur videos and old interviews of the band. Frequently, a lot of people think that I am from London, England because of my huge Love for Blur but I'm actually born and raised in Los Angeles, California, the city of stars! 

2) How did you get into Blur ? First Blur memories ?

I got into Blur through my sister's music collection 5 or 6 years ago. My sister has always had a brilliant taste in music and always had awesome concert experiences (she once shook hands with Jack White - I’m so jealous!) Back when I was 14 or 15 I didn’t have a developed music taste and was completely into cheesy pop music, pop singers, boy-bands- you name it.

The first Blur memory I had was when I first listened to 'There's No Other Way' from Leisure. It completely blew my mind. It sounded new and different to me and I became curious to know who the band was. Afterwards, my sister showed me one of Blur’s music videos- "She's So High" was the first music video I ever watched by Blur and I instantly fell in love with their music and their lead singer Damon Albarn! 

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A Leisure-esque Blur - Their first top 10 single was 'There's No Other Way' in 1991

3) You have a popular Blur-related Youtube channel - can you tell us about that ?

Yes. Actually I have my main channels ('TracyJackAlbarn' and 'TracyJackAlbarn2') that I use  everyday. These contain mostly rare video footages of band, with Blur interviews, concert live performances, movie clips from the Blur shows and so much more. There’s even the making of some Blur music video footages, Damon on Bowie and old game shows that Blur featured in, and lots of old interesting clips.

And of course, I make funny Blur parodies, tributes and even birthday videos to celebrate Damon Albarn’s annual birthdays, as well as extra series episodes. My main channels have grown in popularity these few years. This is a pleasant surprise because I didn’t think that people like to watch these funny Blur videos in their free time! I always receive kind "thank you " comments or responses for creating Blur-related videos, and that gives me a good feeling inside. 

4) Damon or Graham ?

Damon. He is definitely my favorite. Well... I don't want to brag too much about his good- looks, but besides that I think Damon is probably one of the most talented human being in the musical scene that I have ever encountered. Damon has made many pieces of art that should be appreciated - from his work on Dr.Dee to DRC Music and the many other solo projects that are separate from Blur and Gorillaz, he has always created excellent music. 

That said, Graham Coxon is definitely a very gifted and excellent guitarist. I've also admired Graham's solo work very much and would love to see him live in concert someday!

5) Favourite Blur song and why ?

Favorite Blur Song? Now that's a hard one, because it always changes from time to time. I think Blur’s B-side hits had always been on the top my list. At the moment, my favourite Blur tracks are 'Trimm Trabb', 'One born every minute', 'Don't Be' and 'Hanging Over'.
Blur 'Hanging Over' poster made by a fan -
Blur are known as a band with "brilliant b-sides"

6) Strangest thing you did related to Blur and the band

Well there are quite a few! From having a picture of Blur on a birthday cake when i was 15... dressing up as Damon for Halloween once during my sophomore year of highschool (though my sister mistook my costume as Pete Doherty from The Libertines!). The strangest thing I ever did relating to Blur was probably making South Park parody videos a long time ago. It was a Youtube hit but I guess they were a little weird for those who watched it.

7) Have you ever seen Blur live ?

Sadly, I have never seen Blur Live. However I have seen Gorillaz live in concert back in 2010. But since the recent upcoming dates have confirmed for a long tour for Blur this year in 2013, I just hope and pray that Blur will come to tour in the USA. If so, I'll surely be the first in line once the Blur boys has landed to LA.

Blur are set for a massive tour in 2013 but
there are no plans for American fans just yet 
8) How has Blur changed you ?

Blur has definitely changed the way I listen to music nowadays. Because of Blur, I've now become more of a stable optimistic indie listener and I listen to a wider variety of music genres. 

I've gotten more into Jack White, Gotye, Yuna, Augustus Pablo, Paul Weller, Johnny Marr, The Kills, Little Dragon, Elastica & many more. In a way, Blur “saved” me from the cheesy-ness of mainstream pop music and expanded my range.

9) What Blur items do you own ? Any blur merchandise ?

I have a few books, magazines, DVDs, & CD's from Both Blur, Gorillaz, Damon Albarn's solo projects. I also own some documentaries and copies of movies that Damon Albarn starred in (only 'FACE' & 'Anna and the Moods'). Just recently this year, I got my first Blur Vinyl & CD single of "Under the Westway/ The Puritan”!  

As for Blur Merchandise, I do have two Blur shirts and one of them has a picture of Damon in the front. I also bought quite a few buttons featuring Blur and Graham Coxon. This sounds quite little but I have a feeling that my collection of Blur items and merchandise will be growing bigger and bigger in the future and ask they continue to release new music!

10) Any last words ?

I would also like to take this opportunity to announce that starting early January of 2013, I'm going to start My first VLOG channel. It'll be full of random miscellaneous videos where viewers can get to know me more. I’ll also include quite a few Blur humor here and then. 

It's truly an honor and privilege being interviewed for BlurBalls! Thank you so much!

Check out more of Diana’s Blur videos on her Youtube Channel  (we can't get enough of this live video of the MAKING OF BEETLEBUM  by Blur). There’s a lot of archive Blur interviews and cool pieces to watch.

You can get in touch with her on twitter (@TracyJackAlbarn)

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