Liberty State Park, New Jersey, USA

01. The National Anthem
02. Lucky
03. Optimistic
04. Karma Police
05. I Might Be Wrong
06. Knives Out
07. Pakt Like Sardines
08. Exit Music (For A Film)
09. My Iron Lung
10. No Surprises
11. Dollars and Cents
12. Just
13. Pyramid Song
14. Paranoid Android
15. Idioteque
16. Everything In It's Right Place
Encore #1:
17. Morning Bell
18. Fake Plastic Trees
19. Climbing Up The Walls
20. How To Disappear Completely
Encore #2:
21. Talk Show Host
22. You and Whose Army?
Encore #3:
23. Like Spinning Plates
Encore #4:
24. The Bends

(thanks to jim & christopher for the setlist)

The National Anthem featured Kid Koala spinning once more. Colin was having some serious bass trouble, but the bass tech was on it and it got fixed. Karma Police was dedicated to everyone who has a job they hate. Thom screwed up Like Spinning Plates during the intro, so it was restarted. Of course, this means I got to hear that beautiful intro again, so I'm not complaining. At the ferry docks after the show (soon after I got on the boat) I believe a person fell into the water between the boat and the docks. They got a ladder and rescued whomever fell. As the boat was pulling away, the light that was lighting the entryway to the ferry died, which more than likely made the whole Pushing-To-Get-On-A-Ferry thing much worse.[thanks Christopher]


Four good pals and myself arrived at the Liberty State Park gates after being bussed about 10 minutes from an off site parking area. We were greeted by dusk and a pleasant breeze from the waterways on both sides of the peninsula already booming with the latter half of the Beta Band's performance. We were indeed amused by the hi jinx of the lead singer as he mocked those that would turn the beautiful park on which we all stood into a golf course. Appropriately, he put on a wig and jammed through the last two songs on their setlist.
Kid Koala's interesting and amusing intermission performance was an original idea which I had never encountered nor even thought of. From the opening "Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail" trumpet brigade to the anticipation building use of "Fitter Happier", I was never bored as the Kid scratched and spun.
Between Kid Koala and the emergence of Radiohead, there was almost incessant and monotonous Waltz music being played in the background. During each break between tracks, anticipation in the crowd bubbled as many guessed whether this would be the last time we heard we heard the record needle stop. But the wait dragged and dragged as it always seems to do. Actually it turned out to be the lights that were the main indicator that "the guys" were about to suit up and take the stage. The elevator music stopped, (which I had actually come to enjoy due to it's eerily regular progression, despite the bursts of anticipation that were brutally disregarding my sense of patience) and the lights went out. It was officially on. Radiohead were on a stage in front of me, and this being my virgin experience seeing them live, when Colin began striking those opening notes inciting the band to begin "The National Anthem", I realized what I was taking in was real, and it was almost too much to handle.
Toward the end of "TNA", Thom's dancing and insanely rhythmic bantering that went something like "Blaigh Blaihg Ahh Errg Ahh Ergg BAA BAA BAA" reminded me of the comfort of my own personal sanity. I enjoyed this song live very much, which interested me because I was a bit on both sides about how the Kid A/Amnesiac material may sound live. I was soon convinced that the aforementioned material was only ten times more energetic and impressive live. My favorite Radiohead song is probably "Lucky", which made the performance of it next the first in a series of special treats Thom and the gang had in store. The tune was played flawlessly, with a real sense of passion dilated by the bursts of red light that surged the stage during the chorus. "Optimistic" was great live, for some reason, I had forgotten how great a song "optimistic" was until it was being played 30 feet from my face. Much enjoyment from this little ditty. And next ladies and gentlemen, came the sing-along. This was special treat number two for all onlookers, as Thom encouraged the crowd to sing "This is what you get … when you mess with us." I even caught a slight mix-up that was totally intentional, as the band began to jam into the "for a minute there" bridge, Thom reverted, giving the band a quick hand signal and muttering something like "come on" to once again play the sing-along chorus before ending the tune. Next came the insanity that was "I might be wrong", "Knives out", and "Packt." I especially enjoyed the last of these 3 because it was an incredibly innovative rendition of itself. The " " metamorphosis the band has undergone for Kid A/Amnesiac is almost reverted to something from the past as electronic ticks and dings are converted to slamming guitars and wrenching bass. This was fascinating to me on so many levels. I love Radiohead. Exit music was beyond words, this song is so meaningful and touching, I went into a bit of a zone while listening to it, and I don't know if I can sit in front of this screen racking my brain and generate words to describe the feelings I had when Thom proclaimed "We hope your rules and wisdom choke you and now we are one in everlasting peace we hope that you choke that you choke …" Once again, thank god for good bands that play good music. This is one where you really, really "had to be there." "My Iron Lung" was our first taste of the Bends material, and quite impressive. You can't go wrong with that classic rock and roll formula. Next came "no surprises." Brilliant. One word, Xylophone. Enough said there. Next we were taken back into the realm of amnesiac with "Dollars and Cents." After a quick 10 second break, we received special treat #3. I have heard rumors on several web pages about the rarity of the guys performing "Just" anymore, but rumors or no rumors, "just" really proved that Radiohead has the power to no only hypnotize and subdue a crowd, but also to just literally blow the crowd away with some classic guitar riffs and energetic vocals. A pleasant surprise. Next came a beautifully played "Pyramid Song." In some miniscule way, I detected a difference from the album version, but was well too far into the song to even consider doing anything but absorbing the truly beautiful music that was before me. All thoughts escaped me during this one, a definite must-hear live, especially if you enjoy the song. I was next snapped out of my temporary daze by Thom providing a bit of interesting background regarding the nature of the meaning of "Paranoid Android." At one point, I felt as if I were looking at a white Jimi Hendrix due to Johnny's dancing and fiercely exaggerated strumming. Johnny is quite a character to observe live, especially during either guitar solo during "paranoid android." I wouldn't have missed this one for the world. A great song played to perfection. Next came "idioteque." A good one live, I especially enjoyed watching Johnny on the display screen as he fiddled with his cables and gadgets to perfectly formulate moaning tones. There was definitely a lot of energy in the crowd for this one. Last in the regular set was "Everything in it's right place." Before the show I had heard a couple of bootlegged versions of this song live, and they were very creepy sounding. This creepiness was multiplied by their performance when Thom's keyboard was rolled out and those initial notes were played. There is indeed something about this song live that wierds you out. I really enjoyed the camera being focused on Johnny's hands as he played with his little digital mixing pad, controlling and contorting the sounds into beautifully chaotic melancholy.
On to encore number one, which consisted first of a lovely rendition of "Morning Bell" with Johnny performing some very unique 70's style jam-outs. OHH OHH Special treat #4! "Fake Plastic Trees" was something I didn't really expect to hear, do the element of surprise coupled with an amazing song, tripled with a flawless yet unique performance. Soon after the slow dramatic ending of "FPT", the bass began to pound again as the boys played "Climbing up the walls" under dim purple and blue light. Creepy, Slow, Distorted, A masterpiece.
Next came a 5 minute pause, when I actually remember seeing about 50-100 people file right off the premises in hopes to catch an early bus, little did they know the encores were ¼ completed. Next came a twangy, wonderful "Talk Show Host." This one came with a lovely outro that was slightly different than the recorded version. "You and Whose Army," AKA the song where Thom went totally mad, making strange gestures into the camera, playing dead for the crowd, and writhing as he sang "YOU AND WHOSE ARMY!" Such a performer that Yorke fellow is. And what amazed me most by this point is that he hadn't lost his cheer. He definitely was not half-assing anything the night of August 17th. He remained pleasant, and appeared to be enjoying himself throughout the evening. A nice bonus, I simply detest pissy vocalists. I know Thom doesn't seem like one to façade happiness when he isn't enjoying what he's doing, so in my opinion he was doing what he does best and loving it.
5 or 10 more minutes have passed, I've bought a T-shirt, eaten a 3 dollar hot dog whose bun actually tasted like a pretzel. An odd combination of taste, but enjoyable considering the intensity of my hunger. While washing down my dinner with a 3 dollar coca-cola, I was shocked to hear, COULD IT BE, IS IT POSSIBLE? Yes it was, they were playing "Like Spinning Plates" live, the last song I had ever imagined I would hear that night. Truly worthy of being dubbed special treat #5.
Once again, I hear the microphones click off. 5 more minutes elapse. 200-300 people have left the venue. I hear the rattle and hum as the dull roar of the crowd is, in a millisecond, converted and amplified to a violent buzz, only to be further loudened by the roar of a crowd that has just realized that the mic's are being turned on one more time, and that can only mean one thing. Another encore? Would we New Yorkers be elevated to the level of the Oxford crowd? Would we hear the elusive "Creep"? Couldn't be. It's not their style. So what in the hell are they going to play now?
"BABY'S GOT THE BEEEENDS" Is I believe what I remember hearing next, in the fit of confusion and excitement that directly followed the introduction of the most amazing final encore imaginable.
An excellent show that came to an excellent end. A brilliant way for five brilliant people to express themselves brilliantly. Can you tell what word comes to mind when I reminisce on this show? This one will go down in the books. Four encores. Not a dull moment. Thank you Radiohead for keeping music the way it should be.