I don’t know what it is with me and concerts. Last year I had tickets to see the White Stripes, a concert I’d been looking forward to for months, and I got sick that day so I couldn’t go. This past spring I had tickets to see The Music at Lee’s Palace, but there was a minor pet emergency, so I couldn’t go. A few months ago I was on the guest list for Mogwai and got a pile of work dropped on me at the last minute. Again…couldn’t go. So when I got deathly ill yesterday, the day of the (long delayed) Radiohead concert, I was desperate. I tried to sell the tickets, but Ticketmaster made it impossible (expensive tickets, abusive postponement exchange policy, etc.), so I loaded up on Tylenol Cold medication and went to the Skydome, Nellie in tow. She would’ve preferred to stay home, watch the bachelor and make me chicken soup. At least, I’d like to think she would’ve. 😉
When we got there Kid Koala was well into his opening set. Not being a big fan of DJ/turntable/scratch, I didn’t feel too put out by missing it. However, what I heard wasn’t terrible; he’s garnered quite a reputation, but being 28 he might not be able to hold onto the “kid” moniker much longer. Ummm, what else…he did a dub of “Moon River”. That was interesting. Happily, he was off the stage by 8:15, so by about 8:30 the lights went down again. We got on our feet, and stayed there for the whole night.
First of all, Thom Yorke is a nutter. He was much more animated that I thought he’d be, hopping and dancing around the stage, generally spazzing out. The cameras they had mounted around the stage would record a few seconds of him dancing, then loop them back on the giant monitors on either side of the band, or just show live digitally altered video of he or the guitarists (but never the drummer or bassist ’cause, you know, they’re not real musicians…). Thom even sang into a little camera mounted in the piano during “You And Whose Army”, playing about with the crowd. Generally pretty goofy for a guy who’s supposed to be so morose.
They played 23 songs total, including all but 2 of Hail To The Thief. Set list (I got this from at ease; I don’t totally trust it, as I’m certain there was a fifth song in the first encore, but can’t remember what it was) is as follows: The Gloaming, There There, 2+2=5, Where I End And You Begin, Backdrifts, My Iron Lung, Myxomatosis, Paranoid Android, Sail To The Moon, Kid A, Scatterbrain, Climbing Up The Walls, Like Spinning Plates, Go To Sleep, Idioteque, Fake Plastic Trees, Sit Down Stand Up; encore 1: You And Whose Army, The National Anthem, A Punchup At A Wedding, How To Disappear Completely; encore 2: Karma Police, Everything In Its Right Place.
Highlights: “2+2=5”, “Myxomatosis” (Thom stopped the song partway through to tell security to haul a kid to safety; looked like he took some bad E, ’cause he was passed out. Once he was out Thom just said, ‘Third verse’ and they snapped back into the song like nothing happened), “Sail To The Moon”, “Like Spinning Plates” (apparently they rarely play this live, and it was spec-frigging-tacular), “Fake Plastic Trees” (except for the idiots who broke out the lighters…who still does that!??!), “The National Anthem” (probably my favourite Radiohead song) and “Karma Police” (naturally, we all sang along with the final chorus, so after the song ended Thom led us in a round of ‘…phew, for a minute there, i lost myself…’). Really, the only songs I didn’t like were “Kid A” and “My Iron Lung”. Everything else was as sincere and immaculate as I’d been hoping for.
Lowlights: the venue (the sound at Skydome sucks, but it was only there because the blackout cancelled the date at the amphitheatre), Ticketmaster (we were way too fucking far back for $67 tickets), and the people who thought they were at a baseball game (going for a beer, going to take a piss, going to buy nachos, standing around talking, etc.). Obviously though, none of these things can be blamed on Radiohead.
I’m glad I forced myself to go. It was worth the sore throat. And feet. And wallet. Radiohead, you’re dreamy.