Life is Beautiful was, as it always is, an explosion of art contained only by the Downtown Las Vegas city blocks that it calls home. The collective come-down that occurs as the festival closes can be a hard pill to swallow, but when Gorillaz is the final act, it takes the edge off.
The virtual band closed the three-day festival on the Downtown Stage on Sunday night with the kind of high-production-value entertainment that pumps a renewing energy into a drained audience.
Photos by Jesse J Sutherland
The impressive stage set-up featured the band’s fictional characters via enormous screens while real-life Damon Albarn led the shadowed band and singers through all the hits. Albarn’s in-the-flesh existence was jarring at first but was forgiven, in part, due to the band’s “real” members’ large presence behind him—an ensemble of a dozen musicians and backup vocalists—and the support he received on the stage. The multi-instrumentalist showcased his talent and endurance as he weaved through the set, switching up singing, playing guitar and picking up the synthesizer when called for.
As expected, the group brought up three of their featured artists that shared the Life is Beautiful stages earlier in the day including Pusha T for “Let Me Out,” Vince Stapes for “Ascension” and De La Soul for “Superfast Jellyfish” and “Feel Good Inc.”
The massive audience stayed with them throughout, chiming in most passionately when the set, and weekend, ended with “Clint Eastwood.”