Never really intended to be a band, but a concept album calling itself The Good, The Bad & The Queen, the side-project of Blur‘s Damon Albarn became an unexpected and substantial hit when it was issued in early 2007. Put together on the premise of doing a a series of songs with the unifying theme of life in London, Albarn put together a band consisting of The Verve‘s Simon Tong, former Clash bassist Paul Simonon, and co-founder of the Afrobeat movement Tony Allen. It was considered by many to be a supergroup and their debut single Herculean, which was issued in October of 2006, created a stir and a lot of excitement ahead of their debut album.
Although there was no plan to do a tour and follow-up releases, TGTBATQ did several performances during their short-stay, including a preview of the complete album at an Electric Proms Concert on October 26, 2006, and later a concert for BBC 6 Music at The Roundhouse. When the album did finally come out, it debuted at Number 2 on the UK album charts and Number 49 on the US album charts, which resulted in a short trip to the US and a performance, recorded by NPR.
This concert was done at St. Denis in France, during a short tour of Europe and was broadcast on both French TV and radio – it comes from early 2007, and it gives a stellar example why this little side-project of the inimitable Mr. Albarn was so popular with fans, and continues to be.
Rumors abound of a second album tucked away somewhere – but they are rumors. With a reunited Blur igniting renewed interest in that milestone band, another go-round of TGTBATQ may be far off. But it’s never too much to ask occasionally. I think we can all agree that Damon Albarn is an extraordinary and gifted writer/composer, and even the side-projects are something to get excited about.
Crank it up.