Just because we're still 'fresh' from Homelands, doesn't mean we can't bring you the FIRST review of Radiohead's filmed-for-MTV London show, along with EXCLUSIVE live photos from the concert.
[l-zone1]It’s Thom Yorke‘s worst nightmare. Large strobing epileptic lasers; surveillance cameras homing in on him like a hundred barrel shotgun – all on the payroll of MTV. ‘I fucking hate TV gigs!‘ he’s quick to declare. But not enough to not do them ahead of your third major label album release since OK Computer changed the musical landscape forever, eh?
[r-zone2]As the tribal pounding of new single ‘There There‘ kicks off proceedings, either Fender have drastically altered their guitar designs to resemble the percussion section from Damon Albarn‘s Mali record or the best guitarist of our generation is playing a huge drum. Indeed, 60 percent of Radiohead (Ed, Jonny and Phil) are on percussion duty until normality is restored for the final third, as a thunderous Greenwood guitar solo tears a time warp back to the days of Thom‘s bleached hair.
[l-zone3]It’s pretty clear from the way that people sing a long to the many other tracks lifted off Hail To The Thief that there are few people here yet to hear it. It’s better that way though. Rather than looking on vaguely while the band indulge themselves in unknown new material, we join in as Radiohead unveil the ‘rock out’ guise that can never be captured on record.
[r-zone4]The rave style magnificence of bass driven tracks like ‘National Anthem’ and ‘Everything In Its Right Place’ first became apparent at the famous Oxford gig in South Park. Similarly, new tracks like ‘Myxomatosis’ are richly enhanced by the drum and bass stretching out from under the compression of pro tools. Dressed in a faintly striped white shirt, with light stubble; Thom shadow-boxes like Ian Brown during ‘Go To Sleep’, occasionally dancing in his own inimitable ‘five-year-old-having-a-tantrum’ manner. He’s upbeat and confident, and full of his own typically self-effacing humour.
[l-zone5]He finds time to make some pretty bold statements though. ‘The Gloaming’ is apparently about ‘the rise of the far right in Europe and America‘. ‘Those loonies, you gotta lock ’em in the cupboard‘ Thom follows up. Similarly, ‘Like Spinning Plates’ is dedicated to ‘everyone who decided to go to war, despite the fact that it was illegal and weapons of mass destruction didn’t exist.‘ Indeed.
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[l-zone1]The benefits of it being filmed for TV are pretty obvious. We get a rich digest of their finest songs, including ‘Talk Show Host’, (a b-side on ‘Street Spirit’). Thom’s voice is of angelic divinity throughout. Not more so than on ‘Sail To The Moon’; a cosmic funeral ballad of quite exquisite proportions. Alongside album opener ‘2+2=5’; up there with ‘Paranoid Android’, ‘Where I End And You Begin’ (with its delectable, descending bass groove which sounds like it belongs on Kid A), is the best new song they play.
[r-zone2]Writing off their electronic forays as ‘second rate Aphex Twin‘, as some have done, is a little harsh. Though it’s true that Radiohead have not defined their own electronic style in the same way as they quickly established one for their ‘rock music’; the beauty and soul of the majority of the songs far exceed that of a lot of electronica brought out into the live arena. When Radiohead come alive, there is no one to touch them, much less better them.
[l-zone3]The most amazing thing about them though, is that they rarely, if ever, get lost in their own complexities. That is left to us. The audacity of a band writing a song like ‘Paranoid Android’ and playing it in seven-eight, and then four-four timing is astounding. Naturally, the OK Computer material gets the best reaction, and tellingly (it’s Radiohead, not Oasis), it’s the quieter parts that people sing along to. ‘This is what you’ll get when you mess with us‘; all beautifully in key.
[r-zone4]Having played twenty three songs, a lone Yorke plucks out a final piece of magic with the touching and deftly astounding, ‘True Love Waits’. ‘Your tiny hands, your crazy get up smile…‘ is as honest and beautiful as anyone could ever imagine. The blissful purity of Thom’s falsetto against the rinsing acoustic guitar draw up an unbelievable gaze of emotion. But that sums up Radiohead. That is what they are. Totally unique and an utter privilege to behold.
” There There
” The National Anthem
” A Punchup At A Wedding
” Go To Sleep
” Kid A
” Sail To The Moon
” Sit Down Stand Up
” No Surprises
” Talk Show Host
” Where I End And You Begin
” Paranoid Android
” Everything In Its Right Place
” I Might Be Wrong
” The Gloaming
” Like Spinning Plates
” Pyramid Song
” Karma Police
” True Love Waits