Gorillaz continued their 2022 tour on Wednesday night with a blowout at Brooklyn, NY’s Barclays Center highlighted by a parade of familiar featured guests from throughout the project’s long and varied songbook. The show featured a stellar opening set from EARTHGANG, the psychedelic funk-tinged hip-hop duo comprised of Olu (a.k.a. Johnny Venus) and WowGr8 (a.k.a. Doctur Dot).

The brainchild of musician Damon Albarn and visual artist Jamie Hewlett, Gorillaz have spent the last two decades becoming the world’s biggest “virtual” band, their output presented as the work of characters 2-D, Murdoc NiccalsNoodle, and Russel Hobbs. In truth, Gorillaz is less of a “band” in the traditional sense and more of a vehicle for collaboration, but for fans who have only consumed the project’s offerings via screens and speakers, it’s easy to forget just how many talented humans have lent the animated act their abilities over the years.

Albarn and company highlighted that fact in Brooklyn, hosting a showcase of eclectic guests both celebrated and obscure while remaining remarkably true to the collaborations featured on Gorillaz’ albums. Even beyond the core touring band, a well-stocked ensemble that oscillated in size and makeup throughout the performance, the sit-ins came early and often at Barclays. Some of those collaborators—like De La Soul‘s Posdnuos and Trugoy the Dove (“Feel Good Inc.”), Bootie Brown (“Dirty Harry”, “New Gold”), Sweetie Irie (“Clint Eastwood Refix”), and EARTHGANG (“Opium”)—are on tour with Albarn’s circus. Others—like Thundercat (“Cracker Island”), Miho Hatori (“19-2000”), Fatoumata Diawara (“Désolé”), and Del the Funky Homosapien (“Rock the House”, “Clint Eastwood”)—were surprise additions who have only stopped by on occasion at recent shows.

Related: Gorillaz Announce 2022 North American Tour With EARTHGANG, Jungle

When the originator of a given collab wasn’t in the house, they would appear on the sprawling screen behind the stage (like Tame Impala‘s Kevin Parker during “New Gold”), or a ringer from Gorillaz’ massive touring roster would burst into the spotlight to handle the part (like the twin trumpets who emerged for “Plastic Beach”, or Bootie Brown covering for Mos Def on “Stylo”).

Damon Albarn made his own face available to the Barclays crowd, too, bouncing from guitar to piano to melodica as he led the revolving outfit through various eras of material ranging from 2001’s Gorillaz to 2023’s forthcoming Cracker Island. While footage from Gorillaz’ classic music videos mingled with newly extrapolated renderings of the virtual band behind him, the former Blur singer showed off his time-tested IRL frontman abilities with magnetic charisma.

He prowled the stage, climbed the bandstand, and pushed up to the lip of the stage on multiple occasions, sometimes even venturing into the audience as he sang. He accepted gifts from the fans in the crowd—first a banana hat, then a Spider-Man mask—and wore them proudly as he went on the with show. He blew his big, sparkly horn on more than one occasion, and took care in explaining that it signified the connection between him and the Gorillaz faithful. He delighted in introducing his creative cohorts, his genuine excitement at watching the likes of De La Soul, Miho Hatori, Del the Funky Homo Sapien, and the rest often skewing more “fan” than “bandleader.”


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Gorillaz have always walked a fine conceptual line. They’re animated, but the music is real. They’re virtual, but their live shows fill arenas around the world. They only have one permanent band member, but they can show off an eclectic collective of artists on any given night without straying far from the original script. The Brooklyn performance managed to at once embody all of those contradictions and render them insignificant. In sound, aesthetic, and otherwise, Gorillaz are one-of-a-kind—and seeing them live is an experience that no fan should miss.

For a complete list of upcoming Gorillaz tour dates, head here. Click below to view a selection of crowd-shot videos from the Gorillaz performance at Brooklyn, NY’s Barclays Center via Jennifer Lackman. Scroll down for the full setlist and a gallery of photos from the show via Allie Joseph.

Gorillaz – “M1 A1” – 10/12/22

Gorillaz – “Skinny Ape” – 10/12/22

Gorillaz ft. Bootie Brown – “New Gold” – 10/12/22

Gorillaz ft. De La Soul – “New Gold” – 10/12/22

Gorillaz ft. Del the Funky Homosapien, Sweetie Irie – “Clint Eastwood” – 10/12/22

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Setlist: Gorillaz | Barclays Center | Brooklyn, NY | 10/12/22

Set: M1 A1, Last Living Souls, Tranz, White Light, Tomorrow Comes Today, 19-2000[1], Rhinestone Eyes, Cracker Island[2], O Green World, On Melancholy Hill, El Mañana, New Genious (Brother), Empire Ants, Skinny Ape, Kids With Guns, Opium[3], Désolé[4], Andromeda, Dirty Harry[5], DARE, Momentary Bliss, Plastic Beach

Encore: New Gold[5], Stylo[5], Feel Good Inc.[6], Rock The House[7], Clint Eastwood[7], Clint Eastwood Refix[7,8]

[1] with Miho Hatori (First time live with Miho Hatori since 2010)

[2] with Thundercat

[3] with EARTHGANG

[4] with Fatoumata Diawara

[5] with Bootie Brown

[6] with De La Soul’s Posdnuos, Trugoy the Dove

[7] with Del the Funky Homosapien

[8] with Sweetie Irie