COMMENT: Gorillaz show is good news, but not quite a return to the glory days

It's fantastic news that band-of-the-moment Gorillaz are set to play a gig at the Guildhall in Portsmouth next month.

Thursday, 18th May 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:32 pm

The news sparked a social media frenzy among fans eager to obtain tickets.

The one-off gig will be part of a warm-up tour to mark the release of the band’s new album.

Tickets were due to go on sale this morning, with organisers expecting tothem to sell out quickly.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The chance to see a beloved band in the flesh provides a visceral thrill for fans, and perhaps only sport can rival live music for an experience that cannot be replicated in any other format.

Councillor Linda Symes, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport at Portsmouth City Council, hit an optimistic note when she said: ‘Portsmouth is on the up. Venues like the Guildhall are fantastic for this sort of band to come along to as it can hold up to 2,000 people.

‘Events like Victorious Festival and the America’s Cup show Portsmouth has the ability to put on big spectacles successfully.

‘People coming here realise just what a nice place this is. When they come here, they are hooked by it.’

A fine sentiment, but there is possibly more wishful thinking in the latter part of that quote than the councillor intended.

Victorious is a massive success story, tapping into the nation’s thirst for live music festivals.

But the Guildhall itself has lost much of the lustre of yesteryear when artists of the calibre of The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, The Who and Bob Dylan played there, among many other legends.

The Guildhall has lost out to nearby rivals such as Brighton, Southampton and Bournemouth in attracting the really big music names in recent years, and much hard work and investment will be needed to recover its position as a premier destination for top artists.

And as for hooking visitors once they visit, the Commercial Road shopping area also needs a major shot in the arm...