Blur played their first gig since 2009 tonight (1 August) as they kicked off a series of dates with a show at Margate's Winter Garden.
The band are warming up for a gig in London's Hyde Park on 12 August to mark the end of the 2012 London Olympics, and will play a series of smaller shows before their date in the capital.
Having played several studio sessions recently, this was Damon Albarn and co's first gig in front of a paying audience, and the band thrilled the fans with their seaside comeback, playing a career-spanning set including their two newest songs, The Puritan and Under The Westway.
Speaking to the crowd early on, Damon Albarn both acknowledged the unique venue and the band's Olympic destiny.
"What beautiful, historic old place," he declared before introducing London Loves by adding, "there's something going on up there."
The band then performed a set which mixed rarely played songs like Young And Lovely and Caramel, with the likes of Country House, Coffee & TV and an Albarn-fronted version of Parklife.
Guitarist Graham Coxon suffered some amp problems midway through the gig, causing the band to delay the start of Popscene, though the delay while the issues was fixed allowed Albarn to explain why the band had picked Margate for their return.
"I just want to say hello to my friend Paul Brewer who runs a little shop in the old town," the singer told the crowd. "I'm really proud of him, I've known him since he ran a stall in Portobello Road."
Briefly leaving the stage after This Is A Low, the band returned for an encore which began with Albarn taking to the piano for Sing along with an impromptu version of Modern Life Is Rubbish instrumental Intermission, before he Coxon, Dave Rowntree and Alex James wrapped-up the show with The Universal.
Girls & Boys
Coffee & TV
Out Of Time
Young And Lovely
No Distance Left To Run
This Is A Low
Under The Westway
End Of A Century
11:10 PM | 01/08/2012
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