LONDON – This is the age of the instant album. Blur had only just finished what may be its last show and the machines were cranking out a digital download.
Today, we can hear the result online. Next week, the two-CD version will be in shops. The title is Parklive, a reference to the Hyde Park location of the concert and one of Blur’s hits, Parklife.
A five-disc version with a DVD comes in November: The audio only goes some way to capture one of the most charged gigs in the park for months, and that includes concerts by Madonna and Bruce Springsteen.
Some fans, who have followed the Britpop band for more than two decades, were left in tears at the prospect of the end of a glorious career.
No more shows are planned. Singer Damon Albarn, who made no reference to that onstage, stood tearful and motionless for a minute looking at the sell-out crowd of 60,000 people. He said good night rather than goodbye before walking away.
The band was dressed down in denim, with Albarn wearing his best cheeky-chappy grin at the start. His other musical activities, such as Gorillaz, have put Blur on the backburner.
Graham Coxon, who has been forging an indie-pop solo career, intently played his guitar while Alex James, now best known as a farmer and cheese maker, thrashed his bass with abandon. Dave Rowntree kept a politically correct beat on drums, as befits a New Labour activist trying to get into parliament.
Many onlookers sported union-flag capes or fake Olympic medals. Still, this was the cool Olympic closing concert, which also featured Bombay Bicycle Club, New Order and the Specials.
Most of the world was watching the spectacular televised ceremony at the Olympic stadium, with performances by the considerably less chilled Spice Girls, George Michael, Queen, One Direction and Take That.
The Hyde Park audience could see live coverage of the rival event on giant screens around the BT London Live site. There were boos for comedians such as Eric Idle (Always Look on the Bright Side of Life) and Russell Brand (I Am the Walrus) and flag-waving for The Who’s incendiary medley. And more tears at the video feed of the Olympic cauldron being extinguished.
Whether we were watching just the end of the London 2012 games is an open question. If it was the also end of Blur, it was at least a heck of a way to bow out.