Thom Yorke played the Corn Exchange in Cambridge, announced as a low-key solo show for the Green Party. Earlier on Thom Yorke soundchecked ‘Harrowdown Hill’, ‘House Of Cards’, ‘Fog’, ‘These Are My Twisted Words’, ‘Like Spinning Plates’ and new song ‘Give Up The Ghost’.
After local artist Pete Um opened with a 30 minute set with just his vocals and a minidisc, Parliament candidate for the Green Party Tony Juniper, took the stage at 9:15pm. Juniper introduced Thom as a great person to work with and was proud to have him on the stage tonight. He asked Thom on stage under loud applause. The Radiohead frontman was in a very talkative mood and played three completely new songs (The Daily Mail, Give Up The Ghost and Mouse Dog Bird). Other notable songs were Lotus Flower (debuted earlier with the Eraser band), These Are My Twisted Words (the song Radiohead released online last Summer) and I Froze Up (once appeared in a Radiohead webcast).
Thom opened the set on acoustic guitar with The Clock from his The Eraser album and then moved over to the piano for the title track of that album, adding: “This one’s for Jonny, he’s a bit ill at the moment”. The crowd responded with a loud ‘Awwww’. Thom: “That’s alright. He likes being in bed”.
Before starting with the third song Thom asks if people could turn of the sound of their cameras; “It’s all clickytyclickclick” (…) “well, you won’t hear it on this one”. Thom adds “When we were kids we went to a shop around here and switch on all the Casio keyboards. It sounded a little bit like this.” The song is Arpeggi/Weird Fishes played on keyboards. With the crowd singing the parts Ed O’Brien usually does at Radiohead shows. It’s either the crowd or messing up the keyboards, it surely made him laugh numerous times during the song.
Moving back to the piano, Thom gathered several sheets of papers with lyrics. “I’ll need these. I have trouble remembering stuff these days. Or maybe I’m pregnant.” Thom introduces the first new song of the evening: “This is a song you never heard before. It’s dedicated to the open-minded, liberal kinda people of this country. It’s called The Daily Mail”. The second Radiohead track of the evening is ‘Pyramid Song’. Thom gets his bass guitar for ‘Harrowdown Hill’ and plays a few notes and responded to someone in the crowd “Did someone just say Flea?!” and slaps his bass like the Red Hot Chili Peppers bass player would. Flea is also in his new band Atoms For Peace. He loops the bass guitar parts and plays over it, with some electric guitar at the end of the song.
‘Lotus Flower’ was introduced as something ‘newish’. The track debuted last fall in Los Angeles when Thom Yorke played with his band. ‘Give Up The Ghost’ was soundchecked in the afternoon and is next in the setlist. Starting off with a loop of a beat and vocal line (Thom hits the mike with his hand and and some vocals), which worked after a second try, the song is one of the highlights of the show. Next up is another relatively new song. ‘These Are My Twisted Words’ is the Radiohead song released online last Summer. Thom commented afterwards ‘The words are not that twisted, but the guitar part fucking is’. Ten songs in the set, we get another rarity. Only played at a Radiohead webcast before, Thom introduced ‘I Froze Up’ as ‘only played in my bedroom before, or somebody’s bedroom’.
Thom took a minute to explain why he’s playing this gig tonight, saying he’s sick of politician’s lip service and not talking about green issues. “People are scared of change, but half the country is supporting environmental issues, but we are not represented in Parliament and now it could actually happen. That’s why I’m here. That’s wiiiiicked! I should shut up now.” He then went on to play Radiohead’s ‘Like Spinning Plates’ and then two more songs from The Eraser: ‘Black Swan’ and ‘Cymbal Rush’. Closing track of the set was ‘Videotape’ from Radiohead’s last album ‘In Rainbows’.
Coming back for the first encore the crowd yelled for requests, but replied with ‘Er… no… guess what? Another new one… Noooo!’ and played brand new ‘Mouse Dog Bird’, recording and looping backing vocals. Another two Radiohead songs followed (‘Reckoner’ and ‘Airbag’) and closed the first encore with ‘Atoms For Peace’.
A second encore was not on the setlist, but Thom came back under loud cheers to play a Radiohead live classic, ‘True Love Waits’. Thom: “You might have to sing along for this one because I usually forget the fuuuuucking words.” The song was really the last of the show and leaved the audience with an entertaining set and a great number of new songs.
Vote Green I’d say
Setlist below [VIDEOS OVER HERE]
Here’s the full setlist:
01 The Clock
02 The Eraser
03 Weird Fishes
04 The Daily Mail
05 Pyramid Song
06 Harrowdown Hill
07 Lotus Flower
08 Give Up The Ghost
09 These Are My Twisted Words
10 I Froze Up
11 Like Spinning Plates
12 Black Swan
13 Cymbal Rush
15 Mouse Dog Bird
18 Atoms For Peace
19 True Love Waits