Page last updated at 23:47 GMT, Saturday, 13 June 2009 00:47 UK

Blur return to roots for comeback

Blur appeared at the Mojo Awards in London on Thursday

Blur have returned to the scene of their first ever gig to begin a string of comeback concerts.

The Britpop heroes played for around 150 people in a goods shed at the East Anglian Railway Museum.

It was the first venue the band played in 1988. They went on to become one of Britain's biggest bands but the quartet have not played together since 2000.

Their reunion tour will culminate with a headline slot at Glastonbury Festival and two nights at Hyde Park in London.

Singer Damon Albarn met guitarist Graham Coxon at school five miles from the railway museum in Chappel, near Colchester, Essex.

"It's somewhere that Blur did their first experimental gig, a first ever practice gig in front of a few mates," said Coxon, speaking in April. "So we wanted to revisit it and see what it was like again."

The Victorian goods shed, once used for loading freight and now regularly used to load small children in to Thomas the Tank Engine trains, has tracks down one side, a wooden crane at one end and station signs on the walls.

Of the 150 tickets, 52 were raffled to raise money for the railway museum, the nearby Aldham Village Hall - in the village where Albarn once lived - and the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Blur at Brit Awards in 1995
They won four Brit Awards at the height of their fame in 1995

The band have been in rehearsals for months and released footage on the internet of them practising a number of songs.

Blur enjoyed huge success at the heart of the Britpop boom in the mid-1990s, but Coxon left in 2002 after relations with Albarn became strained.

The group released one further album as a trio in 2003, but then went on hiatus as the members concentrated on other projects.

The reunion happened after Coxon was reconciled with his bandmates.

"One by one I was warming to seeing my old pals again because I missed them," he said.

On his meeting with drummer Dave Rowntree, he said: "There were very complicated relationships and we just wanted to clear a few things up with each other, and that was really nice and healthy."

'Lovely meeting'

He met Albarn before the singer's Africa Express gig in Camden, London, last October.

"We went off for a little walk, had an Eccles cake and it was hilarious," the guitarist said. "I'd missed how funny Damon can be. It was just a lovely meeting.

"We get on really well. And we do have a lot of things we can talk about. So the history is a good thing to have for us lot."

After the railway museum gig, Blur will play in Southend and then at Goldsmiths College, London, where they formed.

After the Glastonbury and Hyde Park gigs, they will headline the Oxegen festival in Dublin and T in the Park in Scotland.

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