I wasn’t drawn into the cult of Radiohead until sometime after they released O.K. Computer and were supporting that album. The reason I mention that is because I wasn’t as astounded as some were when the band played “Creep” for the first time Stateside (it had been at least a decade) as the closer of their NYC show (they played it again in Canada and Japan supposedly but at no other U.S. stop).
Perhaps they played it because that song’s line “What the hell am I doing here?” could still be an apt concern for Thom Yorke and co. Radiohead had sold out two nights at Madison Square Garden and hundreds of people were outside hoping for tickets to be released for the show. The band has earned every bit of their adoration though — it is worth seeing Radiohead as many times as possible since they frequently mix up the setlist. For example, “Let Down” was played after a ten year break the night before (and again on this second night).
Bouncing around like he was on a tennis court, Yorke was the most animated of the band, which includes Jonny and Colin Greenwood, Ed O’Brien, Philip Selway, and Clive Deamer (of Portishead) on drums as well. The band’s vast sonic repertoire was deftly traversed as they performed songs from all their albums — notably dreamy new release A Moon Shaped Pool sounded great alongside the trippy glitchs of Kid A and the foundational rock from The Bends. The band kicked things off with their most recent single “Burn the Witch”, which has a great stop-motion video that challenges a society headed in the wrong direction.
“Everything in Its Right Place” is always a favorite to hear live. The band tore holes in the sonic equilibrium and as the instrumental lines broke down Radiohead went into “Idioteque”, which imagines a global break down. Following these two with “There There” made for my favorite stretch of the night.
If I didn’t care for “Creep” as the finale, then I should note that “Karma Police” would have been a better come down (though the band let that song lead them into a second break). Radiohead fans know the band puts on a great show. They get to leave with an extended sensation of “for a minute there, I lost myself…”
Burn the Witch
Desert Island Disk
My Iron Lung
Climbing Up the Walls
Morning Mr. Magpie
Everything in Its Right Place
Give Up the Ghost
Sun Sep 11 Lollapalooza Berlin Germany
Fri Sep 30 Austin City Limits Festival Austin, TX
Mon Oct 3 Palacio de los Deportes Mexico City Mexico
Tue Oct 4 Palacio de los Deportes Mexico City Mexico
Fri 7 Austin City Limits Festival Austin, TX