Irregular Streams: Gorillaz in Damascus

Kevin Smallwood, Jonathan Kosakow and Conor Kelly – aka Three Grown Men – will be contributing a number of articles on different topics over the coming months. One of the columns Kevin, Kos and Conor will write looks at stream-able live shows that may not have been detected by your radar called Irregular Streams. Check out the first installment…

It’s hard to imagine how a virtual band existing in a fictional universe might perform live here on Earth, but this exact scenario is currently on a world tour. Damon Albarn and Gorillaz have utilized the incredible power of the studio and a large Rolodex to break new ground on album after album, after album over the past decade. Unfortunately, studio-centric, album-oriented genius has historically made for a muddled live performance. That said, there are always exceptions to the rule and even though Gorillaz don’t technically exist, they are most certainly one of those exceptions.

In 2010, Gorillaz put together a lengthy tour of Earth that included a stop in little place called Damascus, Syria. This week’s Irregular Stream provides a jaw dropping performance that captures a modern day Pinocchio – a miracle rendering of a studio virtual-band into a real live-band.

Since then, Gorillaz have torn through the continental US, playing venues such as Madison Square Garden in New York, the 5,000-capacity Wells Fargo Theater in Denver and Los Angeles’ Gibson Amphitheater. Lou Reed took the stage at both the MSG show and LA shows, and in Denver they were joined not only by a Syrian six-piece instrumental band, but an eight-piece horn section, full string section, Bobby Womack and De La Soul as well as guitarist Mick Jones and bassist Paul Simonon of the Clash.

It seems to me like no matter where Albarn takes this project, he leaves it in ruins. Give them a listen.


  • The Band: Gorillaz
  • The Place: Citadel of Damascus – Damascus, Syria
  • The Date: July 29, 2010
  • The Source: NPR’s Live In Concert soundboard recording
  • The Length: 86 Minutes
  • The Highlights: White Flag (w/ Bashy & Kano), Clint Eastword (w/ Eslam Jawaad) and Rhinestone Eyes

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One thought on “Irregular Streams: Gorillaz in Damascus

  1. zappafrank Reply

    Thanks for the NPR tip.

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