01. The National Anthem
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
13. Pyramid Song
14. Paranoid Android
16. Everything In It's Right Place
17. Morning Bell
18. Fake Plastic Trees
19. Climbing Up The Walls
20. How To Disappear Completely
21. Talk Show Host
22. You and Whose Army?
23. Like Spinning Plates
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
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
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
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.