Blur this weekend – with a concert broadcast from Cologne, Germany and recorded on August 22, 1991 – at The Blue Shell.
According to their Wikipedia page:
Childhood friends Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon from Essex met Alex James when they began studying at London’s Goldsmiths College in 1988. Albarn was in a group named Circus, who were joined by drummer Dave Rowntree that October.Circus requested the services of Coxon after the departure of their guitarist. That December, Circus fired two members and James joined as the group’s bassist. This new group named themselves Seymour in December 1988, inspired by J. D. Salinger’s Seymour: An Introduction. The group performed live for the first time in summer 1989. In November, Food Records‘ A&R representative Andy Ross attended a Seymour performance that convinced him to court the group for his label. The only concern held by Ross and Food was that they disliked the band’s name. Food drew up a list of alternatives, from which the group decided on “Blur”. Food Records finally signed the newly christened band in March 1990.
From March to July 1990, Blur toured Britain, opening for the Cramps, and testing out new songs. In October 1990, after their tour was over, Blur released the “She’s So High” single, which reached number 48 in the UK Singles Chart. The band had trouble creating a follow-up single, but they made progress when paired with producer Stephen Street. The resulting single release, “There’s No Other Way”, became a hit, peaking at number eight. As a result of the single’s success, Blur became pop stars and were accepted into a clique of bands who frequented the Syndrome club in London dubbed “The Scene That Celebrates Itself”. NME magazine wrote in 1991, “[Blur] are [the] acceptable pretty face of a whole clump of bands that have emerged since the whole Manchester thing started to run out of steam.”
The band’s third single, “Bang”, performed relatively disappointingly, reaching only number 24. Andy Ross and Food owner David Balfe were convinced Blur’s best course of action was to continue drawing influence from the Madchester genre. Blur attempted to expand their musical sound, but the recording of the group’s debut album was hindered by Albarn having to write his lyrics in the studio. Although the resulting album Leisure (1991) peaked at number seven on the UK Albums Chart, it received mixed reviews, and according to journalist John Harris, “could not shake off the odor of anti-climax”.
To get a better idea of what was going on at the time, here is one of their concerts recorded during that pivotal period – on August 22, 1991 from Cologne Germany.