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In concert: Gorillaz at Patriot Center

gorillazDamon Albarn led a sprawling Gorillaz cast on Monday night at the Patriot Center. (All photos by Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

By Chris Klimek

Citizen-of-the-World Damon Albarn does not travel light. The Blur frontman turned wizard of the "virtual band" Gorillaz (music and lyrics by Albarn & a cast of dozens; avatars by comics artist Jamie Hewlett) has brought a good chunk of the Marvel Universe of voices heard on "Plastic Beach," the group's ecologically-themed third album, on the road.

At the Patriot Center Monday night, the cast for his Google-age Magical Mystery Tour sometimes swelled to two dozen, including an all-male brass section, and all-female string section, backup singers, and a charity single's worth of really-quite-special guests that included Mos Def, Bobby Womack, and De La Soul, plus prerecorded walk-ons by Snoop Dogg and The Fall's Mark E. Smith, among others. No wonder the top tickets cost more than $100! (No wonder there were so many empty seats.)

As you might expect with umpteen musicians playing electro hip-pop in a basketball arena, the sound was a gloppy mess. But the videos, projected on a screen that spanned the width of the stage, were vivid and entrancing. The result felt less like an arena rock show than like some surreal telethon on Adult Swim, one that intermittently surfed over to Bruce Willis in a high speed pursuit/gun battle with the Gorillaz characters (the "Stylo" video) before clicking back to Mos Def rapping "more money, more money" in a purple-lined cape on "Sweepstakes."

So: more eye-burning than face-melting, but it was never dull. If the superb cartoons and shorts were a constant distraction from a stage not lacking for compelling performers, well, that's how Albarn wants it. And when it came time for "Feel Good Inc." and "Clint Eastwood", you had Mick Jones and Paul Simonon - half of the classic lineup of The Clash - sharing the stage with De La Soul and the guy who used to front Blur. What do you want from a concert, anyway?

(More pictures after the jump.)

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By Click Track  | October 12, 2010; 1:10 PM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags:  Gorillaz  
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