Wow, my quiet weekend took a sudden change in direction at about 4pm on Sunday afternoon when I got a text telling me that Damon Albarn was AMAZING at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday night and his second night was likely to be just as good.
So, I thought this could be the chance to test out StubHub, an ebay owned business that acts as a ticket sale/exchange marketplace with lots of security/guarantees in place. I popped online and found there were 23 tickets available, including four in the 12th row right in front of the stage for £37 each (face value £50 each). The only catch was that to get the tickets you had to head down to the StubHub shop just behind Oxford Circus in London.
Not a problem when you have a scooter and live in London as you are almost never more than 30 minutes from anywhere! So, hopped on the bike, and within 15 minutes I had the tickets in hand.
Arrived at the Royal Albert Hall at about 8.30 and what followed was one of the most amazing and joy filled gigs I have ever seen. Damon was dipping into his full back catalogue, including Blur, Gorillaz, solo and World collaboration tracks.
For well over 2 hours, he ran around like a kid, regularly wandering into the audience to hug and sing with the fans and dousing them with water regularly. He even got the security guards blocking the isles to leave so that fans could all rush forwards and join him at the front of the stage where he spent most of the gig in touching distance.
He didn’t do this alone either, there were never less than 15 people on stage and at one point there were over 30. Special guests included Brian Eno, Graham Coxon, De La Soul a couple of choirs and some orchestral stings, with every single person, on and off the stage enjoying the party.
At the same time this was happening perhaps quite ironically, Band Aid 30 was previewing “Do They Know It’s Christmas” live on the X -Factor and the contrast could not be more significant. Damon has always been a huge supporter/collaborator of African music and culture and only this morning he has suggested that the artists involved in the Band Aid single should actually visit Africa to experience the real environment (not just Ebola) in order that they can better understand how to help.
This certainly strikes a chord with us at Vida Vida as we have always worked hard to be involved in the local communities where our factories are based in India and we have spent many months over many years helping them in poverty stricken areas of India. This underlying ethos is what motivates and underpins how we like to run our business.
Anyway, what learnt yesterday was that Damon is not nearly as reluctant a performer as one might have thought, he has some great friends and some amazing fans and an incredible depth of talent to pull out and grace a venue as grand as the Royal Albert Hall. His often complex music comes across amazingly well on stage too.
We also found that, in the right situation (last minute), you can get some real bargains on StubHub without having to fill touts pockets and in fact you may even be able to empty them a bit if they have been greedy in their pricing and been lumbered with a few too many tickets.