Radiohead Plays "Songs With Many Notes"

In 2001, I saw Radiohead perform at Liberty State Park in August to support their two month old release, Amnesiac. I'd been a fan of theirs for around five years, and this show - despite the endless hours of waiting, dehydration, and achy backs - locked me in to several more years of holding the band very high in regard. Radiohead was another give-in when it came to listing favorite bands of all times, but there was an interesting point...none of their albums held a spot on my AT3 (the All Time Top Ten, for those of you not as shamelessly obsessed with organizing all things metaphysical).

Tonite's performance was going to make or break Radiohead for me. 2003's Hail To The Thief came out while I was in London, and I walked myself down to the Tower Records in Camden to purchase it. It helped me through an unbelievable split with one of my best friends ("Where I End And You Begin"), but it was with Amnesiac - which I'd acquired both the special edition + jewel case at a midnight sale in (you guessed it, Tower Records) Atlanta - that I found my niche. Aside from the fact that their electronic experimentations over the course of the last three albums are very much in line with the sort of obscure-yet-accessible IDM dancenfreude (new word) that I love, Radiohead was always a band that carried me somehow. Each new album has seen me through some sort of difficult time, so seeing them live both solidified and shook me.


Radiohead @ Bank Of America Pavilion, Boston [second night]

Anyway...the show. The new songs were rather good (best of the batch was "Videotape," by far), but I have to admit it was the older tracks that were really shining through. "Idioteque" seemed thicker than the last several times I'd heard it, and the live-ified version of "Like Spinning Plates" always reworks the song in a way I'd never imagine to be more beautiful. I was impressed by the concept behind the album version (singer Thom Yorke recorded the track, played it backwards, learned it backwards, re-recorded himself singing it backwards, and then played that tape backwards, sounding like a choppier, more dissonant version of the first recording...pretty cool, huh?), but that first time someone sent me an mp3 of "Plates" live from 2001's tour, it was like a knife to the chest. Visceral music. Radiohead has their moments when they can make every last hair stand up in attention, and this is definitely up there.

No cameras allowed! Pardon the craptastic Razr photos...

I'll admit if they dared to play "True Love Waits" or "Talk Show Host," I just may have shat myself, but don't let that lessen the effect that "Fake Plastic Trees" had on the crowd. Instant silence. Plastic pints lowered to waste level. Many chins slightly lower than usual. It was definitely a beautiful moment.

And finally, I have to say that the band certainly seemed to be in high spirits tonight. Thom seemed to be having the time of his life, Johnny Greenwood was wearing pink pants (wtf?), and bassist/big brother Colin Greenwood made gesture of the audience's existence more than once (thatta boy). Stage banter went little beyond "Thank You" or "This is a new song" - save the add-on of "...and this song also has many notes." Har har, Thom.

For a more sensible review of Radiohead's first night in Boston, read the wonderful Mr. Spitz's review here.

From the show...so beautiful.
Radiohead - "Like Spinning Plates (live)"

1 comment:

robbie dee said...

those gigs at liberty state park were just amazing, enough said. glad you got to see 'em on this tour... those bastards better come to atlanta when their LP's done!