Roskilde’s website promised a “unique and unmissable show” from Africa Express at this weekend’s festival and wow did they deliver! Damon Albarn kept his audience out passed their bedtime with a five-hour set that lasted until 4 AM. If it hadn’t been for “Big Dave” Prentice, Albarn might still be on that stage.
Blur’s front man Damon Albarn came to the stage on July 4th in high spirits and BAC to close the annual event in Denmark. Albarn was scheduled to play with Africa Express, including Songhoy Blues, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Nick Zinner, and Seye Adelekan. The epic show included appearances from Graham Coxon and Laura Mvula and covers of Randy Newman, the Gorillaz, and The Clash.
At the start of a sing-a-long cover of the Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” Albarn was informed by his security that it was time to wrap it up with which he responded, “fuck that, you want more yeah?” egging on his audience to chant and boo. After a few minutes of struggling, security guard and stage manager Dave Prentice finally carried him off stage. Not once did Albarn’s grin waver.
After Albarn was carried off stage, Ian Birrell co-founder of Africa Express) says he and the rest of the collective continued to make music backstage. And the band wasn’t the only ones in high spirits, “the crowd carried on outside the tent for almost an hour” afterwards Birrell stated, “they were drumming against the poles of the tent and chanting.” They were “in a very ebullient mood despite it being 4 AM.” Even as Albarn was being carried off stage, the crowd joined him in chanting for more. This isn’t the first time the festival has had trouble with a rowdy crowd. In 2000, nine audience members were killed and 26 injured during a Pearl Jam show.
Damon Albarn will continue to work with Africa Express who has been a “revolutionary force” in music for the last two decades. They “bring together musicians from different cultures, genres, and generations to break boundaries, promote African music and offer a new perspective.” Albarn also plans to tour worldwide with his band Blur to promote the summer release of their newest album The Magic Whip. He has also been working on wonder.land, Albarn’s modern version of Alice in Wonderland, which is currently playing in the Manchester International Festival.
Damon Albarn and Africa Express Roskilde Festival Setlist
01. Lonely Press Play
02. Everyday Robots
03. Tomorrow Comes Today (Gorillaz)
04. Slow Country (Gorillaz)
05. Kids With Guns (Gorillaz)
06. Three Changes (The Good, the Bad & the Queen)
08. Photographs (You Are Taking Now)
09. Kingdom of Doom (The Good, the Bad & the Queen)
10. Poison (Rocket Juice & the Moon)
11. Hollow Ponds
12. El Mañana (Gorillaz)
13. Out of Time (Blur)
14. All Your Life (Blur)
15. Clint Eastwood (Gorillaz)
16. Feel Good Inc. (Gorillaz)
17. Mr Tembo
18. Don’t Get Lost in Heaven (Gorillaz)
19. Heavy Seas of Love