Virtual band Gorillaz hit the German capital on Sunday (November 21) with an array of incarnate international artists, playing their first ever concert in Germany.
BERLIN, GERMANY (NOVEMBER 21, 2010) REUTERS -Virtual band Gorillaz rocked the German capital on Sunday (November 21) with renowned musicians made from flesh and blood, including US rappers De La Soul, legend Bobby Womack, Neneh Cherry, the Syrian national orchestra and Gorillaz co-founder and former Blur frontman Damon Albarn.
The show was accompanied on a big screen by the 2D images of the virtual band members, 2D (vocals and keyboards), Murdoc Niccals (bass), Noodle (guitar and vocals) and Russell Hobbs (drums and guitar) - created by Gorillaz co founder and comic artist Jamie Hewlett.
During their first and only German gig so far, the Gorillaz delivered a show that was a mash up of all musical genres, topped off by elaborate and sophisticated animations and an incredible light show.
12,000 people watched as the band, led by Albarn, went from pieces including string septets, double drum sets, Syrian musicians or a brass section from Chicago, all the while accompanying varying artists like soul legend Bobby Womack, De La Soul or Swedish-Chinese singer Yukimi Nagano from 'Little Dragon', or Paul Simonon and Mick Jones from 'The Clash'.
"I have been in a band previously with Paul Simonon (from the Clash) and De La Soul I have worked with on the previous Gorillaz album and on other stuff, so it's really nice to accumulate all this fantastic charisma, you know. And Bobby (Womack) and I have talked about maybe doing some kind of record" Albarn told Reuters ahead of the concert.
"The essence or magic of our collaboration is that we kind of discuss and play around with key ideas and anything else, what evolves from that is entirely autonomous in a way and hopefully the two work together, you know," Albarn explained.
When during previous concerts the stage mainly belonged to the virtual characters, during the 'Escape To Plastic Beach' audiences where able to feast their eyes and ears on the 2D musicians as well as on 3D originals.
Gorillaz released its third album "Plastic Beach" in March, with Snoop Dogg, Lou Reed and Bobby Womack among the eclectic list of guests featured.
Underlining the cartoon group's star-pulling power, Hollywood actor Bruce Willis also appears on the video to the single "Stylo." "It's not something I think that someone else has attempted in the way we do it, so there isn't a blueprint for what we do," Albarn said about the success and attraction of Gorillaz.
"So I mean that's the kind of pleasure of doing something that is sort of unique, you can can actually make it up as you go along, there are no rules because none have been established." His love of 'doing music for the right reasons, not the celebrity factor' as what keeps him and the band going, said Albarn: "Anyone could make a Gorillaz, it's just that there haven't been that many kind of takers (laughs). It's all gone kind of X-Factor and not sort of Gorillaz, you know. Which is a shame, really, because I think ours is more fun and less predictable."
With 'Plastic Beach', the group has steered clear of scoring political points despite the ecological message in the record.
Reviews of Plastic Beach, released on EMI's Parlophone label, have been generally favourable, with the Independent newspaper's Andy Gill awarding it four stars out of five and Rolling Stone magazine three-and-a-half out of five.
Gorillaz will be hoping to extend their early success, with record sales of around 15 million worldwide already.