Tuesday, May 23

Sing.. us a song. A song to keep us warm.

So....a week ago today....

Radiohead have always been a favourite band of mine.
Over the years, their meandering and experimentation has lost them a lot of 'fans' along the way. The attraction of Pablo Honey, The Bends and Ok Computer drew them so many admirers and when they reached an almighty peak, they begun to experiment with computers, synchronized beats and bleeps in favour of guitar riffs and melancholy, which the critics hated and some of their fans just couldn't lend an ear to.
Such is the life and career of a band.


I used to listen to their meatier stuff when I was feeling low and almost felt like I needed to hear something to reflect my mood.
They never failed me and with that in mind, I've stuck with them through thick and thin.

Last Tuesday, I was lucky enough to see them in a venue, the size of which they probably haven't played in since they started to 'break'.
Along with about a thousand other people, I stood there in amongst the sticky floor and the sweaty bodies to watch a band who quite simply bring everything together when they play live, just like a band should do.

There isn't any way that I can describe the feeling you get when you're stood there with hundreds, sometimes thousands of other people, waiting for a band to come onstage.
The anticipation bubbles and festers inside. The atmosphere becomes ignited with each minute that passes while the roadies and soundcheckers scurry about the stage.

Then they disappear....
Then the lights go down....
Then the crowd goes wild....

Silhouettes appear onstage, taking their respective places....a few strums and final tune-ups....then they kick in with something that sends a 'wave' of euphoria through your body.

So multiply this indescribable by 100 and you're almost where I was last week.


Their setlist was great and quite different from the previous night. A great mix of older stuff, with some new songs played as if their lives depended on it. In fact, I noticed when they played the new stuff, the all looked like they were so, so much more 'into' the whole thing, but that's not to say that anything was lost when they belted out classics like "Karma Police", "Planet Telex" and "Street Spirit".
When Thom played "Exit Music (For a film)", I almost fell to my knees and blubbed like an emotional wreck. Somehow, I managed to keep myself together even when he sung those last few lines with such feeling and emotion. That whole song felt like he was singing it just for me. Amazing!

The new songs sound great and if I were to 'shelve' them somewhere, it would be a cross between Kid A and The Bends. The programming was there, the pumping drum beats were there, but so was the guitar riffs, the twisted lyrics and Thom's wonderful voice.

Two hours of pure bliss is the only was I can describe it. They all looked they really enjoyed playing the gig and knowing how Radiohead can be, this was so refreshing to see.
We were blessed with two encores; the first including an amazing version of "Lucky" which took my breath away. That guy can sing....
The final song was a lengthy version of "There There", with the two guitarists beating shit out the extra sets of drums on stage.

To say they played like a band should play is a huge understatement.
To say they bought all their beautiful noise together and delivered a perfect sound just doesn't do them justice.
To say everything about the gig surpassed my hopes and expectations is about as good as I can try to describe it.

It doesn't matter how hard I try to put down here how I felt about the gig, the words just fail me. I can't even say that I was disappointed that they didn't play some of my favourites, because everything they played was just....well, pretty damn perfect for the night.

It may well be a long time before I feel quite such a feeling as I did that night, but the memories are there and that's something that will never fail me.


They are headlining V Festival in August and even though it's on a hugely different scale, with something like 60 odd thousand people there, I will still be standing somewhere amongst all those people....losing myself in the moment that is Radiohead live.

2 parlez:

Joe said...

can't wait for V.

SwissToni said...

it's good to hear that they were good. I know I said stuff about them around about the time you got the tickets, but I do honestly want them to be brilliant. I actually like a lot of their 'electronic' stuff. If you listen to "Kid A" and "Amnesiac" there's an awful lot of great stuff on there. All I was moaning about was how they looked dissatisfied and disinterested the last time I saw them live, and if they were going to show so little respect for their audience, then I wasn't going to make the effort for them.

Looks like things might be looking up on that front then. I'll make do with an enormodome if I have to. I'm just pleased they're back.

ST