Saturday, May 17, 2008

a long time coming...

I've mentioned on this blog before that I like Radiohead a great deal. My esteem for the band has only grown, from the first listen through OK Computer, to skipping class for Kid A, to the band's recent In Rainbows and I must tell you a story.

I graduated from high school the same year Radiohead's Kid A was released. The band toured the US and my best friend Hunter bought us tickets for my graduation. The closest show was in DC and we jumped into Hunter's 4Runner and headed north for a 12 hour drive. Upon reaching the Bull Run battle field where the show was being held, we saw one flash bulb construction sign after another telling us the Radiohead show had been canceled. We pounded fists against the dash, cussed, and turned around and drove home. 12 hours home to be exact.

That was seven years ago and I have never had the chance to see Radiohead again until this past Wednesday in St. Louis. Despite the frustration of the drunken frat boys all over the lawn, the two plus hours of music was probably the best and most inspiring concert experience of my life. The light show was stunning, the set list was terrific, and the band is simply flawless live. All the sonic complexity of their records translates with ease as the five members of the band have always worked hard to not leave any important, studio-made detail behind. The band's core three guitar, bass, and drum format saw both Thom and Johnny spending ample time behind the Rhodes or piano, Johnny operating any number of analog synths to reproduce much of the more peculiar sonic textures. Even Ed, the band's only dedicated guitar player set his guitar down to manipulate various floor-mounted effects.

With over two hours of music, they played every song off In Rainbows, including "Bangers & Mash" from the bonus disk, as well as at least 2 songs from every other album but their first, Pablo Honey. Highlights of the show range for the three guitar onslaughts of "Airbag", "My Iron Lung", and "Paranoid Android", to the largely programming-based "The Gloaming", to "There, There", a point in the show where only Thom played guitar, and Ed and Johnny both picked up sticks and played percussions. As a whole, the band communicated a tremendous love for live music and a deep appreciation for their fans. Thom cracked jokes from the stage and they all graciously waved and bowed to crowd at numerous points; one of the best bands in the world, living up to their reputation and with no pretension. It was a long time coming.

Anyway, for you fans, here's the setlist. Maybe put together a little playlist and enjoy!

All I Need
Jigsaw Falling Into Place
15 Step
Kid A
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
The Gloaming
You and Whose Army
Faust Arp
Everything in Its Right Place
Bangers & Mash

Encore 1
Exit Music (For a Film)
My Iron Lung
There There
Fake Plastic Trees

Encore 2
Pyramid Song
House of Cards
Paranoid Android