Blur + Courtney Barnett Played MSG (Photos) + Blur's 'New World Towers' Documentary Coming Soon

Blur's bi-coastal arena shows beckoned fans far and wide as the band performed songs from The Magic Whip and lots of other hits and rarities. Their documentary New World Towers is part of the DOC NYC festival this Sunday.


Blur + Courtney Barnett

City: New York
Venue: Madison Square Garden
Date: 2015-10-23

After a one-off small show in New York earlier this year, Blur fans were wondering when Albarn and co would be returning to the States. Fortunately, when they did, Blur returned with two massive arena shows, one in Los Angeles and one in New York to really give their fans a taste of The Magic Whip, their well-received 2015 "comeback" album. Blur's show at Madison Square Garden was their biggest in NYC ever and they brought along Australian upstart Courtney Barnett to open for them, giving her the opportunity to reach her biggest audiences yet. Barnett's debut Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit will be sure to land in many top 10 album of the year lists and her energy was great on stage as she smashed through choice album cuts like "Depreston" and "Pedestrian at Best".

Blur themselves were in fine form. I first saw Blur over a decade ago at Field Day Festival. At that time, I wasn't as knowledgeable about their music as I am now. I didn't realize that "Tender" was their song, I must have heard it on the radio or something (it is pretty long so would they have played it on the radio?) but when they played it, I was one of thousands singing along. Since then, I've wanted to catch Blur again. Madison Square Garden was a great place to do it.

As Rolling Stone reported, "Blur frontloaded their long-delayed sold-out debut at the Garden – part of a quick North American victory lap in venues, like the Hollywood Bowl three nights earlier, that would have been way beyond their reach even at the height of Britpop – with enough material from their strong return to record, the eerie electro-R&B modernism of The Magic Whip, to qualify as substantial, deserving resurrection... Blur at the Garden was also a victory earned – celebrated with perfect timing."

New World Towers shows at SVA Theatre on Sunday November 15th in NYC as part of DOC NYC. Tickets are available here. The synopsis follows (and a clip is below):

"Earlier this year, iconic Britpop band Blur surprised their legion of fans with the release of a new album, The Magic Whip, their first as a foursome in 16 years. Blur: New World Towers goes behind the scenes to reveal how an unexpected break in Hong Kong during their 2013 reunion tour inspired the chart-topping album, recorded in secret, and the particularly pivotal role guitarist Graham Coxon played in the process. Sam Wrench's intimate film explores the band members' enduring friendship, spontaneous creativity, and candid reflections on celebrity and the band's future while showcasing more than a dozen of their songs in spectacular concert performances in Hong Kong and Hyde Park."

Courtney Barnett:

Courtney Barnett 10/23/2015 setlist

Avant Gardener

Nobody Really Cares If You Don't Go to the Party

Small Poppies


Elevator Operator

An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York)

Dead Fox

Pedestrian at Best



Blur 10/23/2015 setlist

Go Out

There's No Other Way

Lonesome Street


End of a Century

Ghost Ship

Coffee & TV

Out of Time

Country Sad Ballad Man


Thought I Was a Spaceman

Trimm Trabb



Song 2

To the End

This Is a Low

[encore break]


Girls & Boy

For Tomorrow

The Universal





How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.


From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?


The 50 Best Songs of 2007

Journey back 13 years to a stellar year for Rihanna, M.I.A., Arcade Fire, and Kanye West. From hip-hop to indie rock and everywhere in between, PopMatters picks the best 50 songs of 2007.


'Modern' Is the Pinnacle of Post-Comeback Buzzcocks' Records

Presented as part of the new Buzzcocks' box-set, Sell You Everything, Modern showed a band that wasn't interested in just repeating itself or playing to nostalgia.


​Nearly 50 and Nearly Unplugged: 'ChangesNowBowie' Is a Glimpse Into a Brilliant Mind

Nine tracks, recorded by the BBC in 1996 show David Bowie in a relaxed and playful mood. ChangesNowBowie is a glimpse into a brilliant mind.


Reaching for the Sky: An Interview with Singer-Songwriter Bruce Sudano

How did Bruce Sudano become a superhero? PopMatters has the answer as Sudano celebrates the release of Spirals and reflects on his career from Brooklyn Dreams to Broadway.


Inventions Conjure Mystery and Hope with the Intensely Creative 'Continuous Portrait'

Instrumental duo Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) release their first album in five years as Inventions. Continuous Portrait is both sonically thrilling and oddly soothing.


Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch Are 'Live at the Village Vanguard' to Raise Money for Musicians

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch release a live recording from a 2018 show to raise money for a good cause: other jazz musicians.


Lady Gaga's 'Chromatica' Hides Its True Intentions Behind Dancefloor Exuberance

Lady Gaga's Chromatica is the most lively and consistent record she's made since Born This Way, embracing everything great about her dance-pop early days and giving it a fresh twist.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.


Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.


Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.