radiohead at ease  
radiohead at ease
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13-06-00: Theatre Antique d'Arles, Arles, France

01 talk show host
02 bones
03 optimistic
04 karma police
05 planet telex
06 morning bell
07 dollars and cents
08 street spirit
09 national anthem
10 my iron lung
11 no surprises
12 climbing up the walls
13 lucky
14 in limbo
15 exit music
16 airbag
17 everything in it's right place
18 just
19 knives out
20 nice dream
21 paranoid android

Support: Venus and Laika 
Att: 2500 (sold out)

Phil Selway has been out on the streets of Arles meeting fans and signing autographs in the afternoon, where Radiohead make their live comeback after 18 months, Phil emerged from the venue looking relaxed, chatting to fans.  The half-demolished amphitheatre is described as "very prog rock - its like Pink Floyd playing in Pompeii".

Taking to the stage half an hour late, shaven-headed Thom Yorke greeted the crowd with a French "Bon soir, tout le monde!" - ("Good evening, everyone!" in English). The band debuted 7 new tracks.

A seemingly happy Thom, who grinned at the crowd and even took photos of the crowd after the second song, then declared: "You like it dark, don't you?" and launched into 'Karma Police'.

Radiohead have debuted 7 new tracks as they play their first gig of the millennium at the Arles Theatre Antique in France. Taking to the stage half an hour late, shaven-headed Thom Yorke greeted the crowd with a French "Bon soir, tout le monde!" - "Good evening, everyone!" in English - before striking up the first song 'Talk Show Host'.

The band then played 'Bones' before debuting a new track 'Optimistic' from their as yet untitled forthcoming album, due out October 2nd. The new song started out with a swamp-rock Dr John-style rhythm on guitar, before descending into even darker terrain, complete with Thom trademark yowls and screams.

The crowd, who at times were virtually hushed in awe, gave the new songs a rapturous reception, with 'Knives Out' garnering the best reaction. Introduced by frontman Thom Yorke as a song "about cannibalism", the track is the most radio-friendly of the new born songs and reminiscent of a darkly twisted 'Street Spirit'.

Of the new material, 'Morning Bell' bears influences of DJ Shadow with glimmers of 'Airbag' and features cut-up rhythm of syncopated beats that builds until it spirals towards the edge of control, bringing to mind Miles Davis' 'Bitches Brew'.

'National Anthem' is driven by a powerful fuzz bass that wouldn't have been out of place on Primal Scream's latest offering 'Xxtrmntr' and is topped with Thom making his very best throwing up noises, a la Elastica's 'Line Up'. It is arguably one of the more accessible of their debuted tracks.

'In Limbo' featured more syncopated, staccato guitar work from Johnny Greenwood, with a powerful loose groove to give it some meat.

After the song Thom said: "For those of you with tape recorder, that was 'In Limbo'. I wouldn't want you to get it wrong". Previously he had said, somewhat bitterly: "All the new songs will appear tomorrow on the internet anyway."

'Everything In Its Place' meanwhile brought to mind incidental music from some 1970s cop show, with Johnny sampling Thom's live voice and playing it back over and over. At the beginning of the encore Thom, looking stylish in a white zipper jacket, took more photos of the audience, asking: "Do you want to be on our website tomorrow?" He concluded the gig with a simple "Thanks for being so nice to us on our first gig back" and the band simply filed offstage after final track 'Paranoid Android'.

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