Author: Will Holmes
On Aug. 26 at 8:00 p.m., I, along with the nearly 18,000 people who filled the Hollywood Bowl, waited with baited breath as Radiohead prepared to take stage. Over fifteen years since their angsty single “Creep” hit top 40 charts in both the U.S. and the U.K., Radiohead’s emotional live shows have received considerable hype, both for the quality of the performance and for the band’s sometimes erratic behavior.
However, the band hailed by critics as the founders of “alt-rock” emerged cool and collected, grinning broadly as they readied their instruments. It was hard to imagine I was witnessing the same band that had inexplicably walked off stage during their infamous OK Computer tour.
The concert opened on a high note as lead singer and rhythm guitarist Thom Yorke tore into the opening riff of “Rekoner,” recorded on the band’s newest album In Rainbows. While critics have often criticized the soft articulated chords found throughout In Rainbows for their lack of live playability, songs such as “Nude” and “15 Step” reverberated beautifully in the legendary Bowl.
Any momentum lost by the occasional blue note or forgotten verse, particularly in “All I Need” where an entire chorus was botched, was made up for by the band’s masterful sense of set pacing. Interspersed expertly between the blistering arpeggios of “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” and the glitchy electronica of “The Gloaming,” were accessible pop ballads such as “Fake Plastic Trees.” Cult favorites including “House of Cards” and “Planet Tatex” also made appearances, and, most notably, a version of “Talk Show Host” that will undoubtedly leave many fans wondering why the song was left off a major studio release.
Watching a Radiohead concert is like seeing five of your favorite bands. At one moment, I was absorbed in their complex melodies and in another, humming along with the most reachable pop. After pounding his way through the melancholy chords of “Cymbal Rush” (found on Yorke’s solo album The Eraser), Yorke barely had time to tell the crowd “you might know this one” before the band ripped into a spectacular rendition of their biggest commercial hit, “Karma Police.” Such diverse and interesting music made my experience with Radiohead an unforgettable one.
This article has been archived, for more requests please contact us via the support system.