Thursday, August 21, 2008

Radiohead, White River Amp 8/20/08

Oh. My. Fucking. Gawd.
My mind has been blown; I am the Jon and Radiohead is thy prostitute.

From the minute they took the stage, I knew I was in for concert going experience that might possibly have blown my first going experience (GNR/Rolling Stones, entry coming soon), out of the hemisphere. I was stone sober for this event, sitting amongst the periodic funny smelling smoke clouds and frankly, I’m glad I was. I felt like I was able to enjoy the show without bladder emergencies and absorb every fucking detail that was being given to me.

The weather seemed fitting…emo ‘I’m an agro spent youth and NO ONE GETS ME!’ gloom, would be an understatement. The clouds looked like angry murky grey waves viewed from the ocean floor, with the ever looming threat of a downpour; which didn’t actually start until ‘Dollars and Cents’, at which point I could say “Radiohead has made me proper wet in the pants” and literally mean it. I embraced the rain with my face turned to the sky; the cold however and being able to see my breathe with frozen toes in the middle of August-no so much.

I would’ve never bought a ticket for this show on my own. Not that I dislike them, I have managed to get almost every album for my collection, but more for the fact that I assumed, rightfully so, that it would be sleepy-time event, where a comfy la-z-boy recliner would be greatly benefited over the ass callus producing seats that the builders presume are acceptable. The price of tickets for a show of this caliber normally waylays my decision against the splurging. Thankfully, Anna prevailed and had an extra ticket; with regrets of it being in the lawn section, to which, I cared not-even with the rain. From my vantage point, Yorke was approximately a size that could fit on my thumbnail; again, I didn’t care. It’s not like this is a Manson show where you want to see every detail cause they get crazy on stage; this is a kick back gig, ie: sleepy time. So needless to say, I didn’t’ deem it necessary to be close enough to watch Yorke’s crazy flailing Charlie Manson moves

(Thom Yorke sizes may vary)

The stage was flanked by large monitors that not only showed the band, but adapted to the curtains of LED. Speaking of LED’s…before the show started, we noticed the stage hands rolling out several rows of tubing from the top of the stage. Seizures be damned, cause once that shit got going, you were hypnotized with an array of patterns, flashing and a kaleidoscope of hues to capture every song’s mood. The pairing of lighting effects to the music just pushed their performance over the top; far beyond anything I've exerpienced in my concert goings.

The LED set up:

the power to run it:
Suck this *band points at crotches* money hungry electric company swine! We’ll go green and use solar power and lower the emissions. You ain’t getting our duckets!

In terms of sound…I haven’t been to many blockbuster shows, I just prefer the intimacy of smaller theaters over the crowds and sometimes horrific blown out sounds of the bigger venues. Given that fact, I must say the sound for this show was by far, some of the best I’ve heard, big or small. The clarity, fullness and the fact that you could make out every note without the need for earplugs, was something my ears and body took in with great pleasure.

Given the combo of the near flawless sound and dazzling visuals, a few key songs stood out in my mind:
Pyramid Song- The stage appeared to be underwater, swimming in a blue lit hue, Greenwood, (Johnny I presume), channeled Jimmy Page, by playing his guitar as a stand up with a bow, creating a creepy whine, which carried on while Yorke played the piano at a slower tempo than the recorded version.

(Pyramid song)

National Anthem-began with a red laser light show; best described as taking a laser pin and going crazy against the wall, in a breakneck way that makes your cat go nuts. When the song starts to build with the horns into a general mess of noise and the repetition of “its holding on”, the red laser continues but is now joined by all the tubes being blue lit in a fashion that resembles a fuzzy t.v. screen, a la Poltergeist. Imagine that blue fuzz, coupled with the bright red snaking through it, and you’ve got ocular assault.

(just a taste of the above mentioned)

The Gloaming- started with a monitor panel on the floor of the stage, beating like a heart, in an emerald green hue in tempo with the base drum. When the chorus of “They should be ringing” with the building of the music, the LED tubes lit up, replicating a very fitting, emerald green ‘downpour’ onto the stage. I must admit, the coloring reminded me of the Wizard of Oz’s Emerald Castle.
(the Gloaming)

And one point, in all of their glorious flawlessness, Greenwood and Yorke take main stage to do an acoustic version of Faust Arp; to which Yorke screws up on the lyrics a few times; proving that he/they are not super human. He proceeds to start singing Neil Young's "Tell Me Why"; mumbling the words he doesn’t know; laughs; says “fuck it!” and continues on to finish the intended song. It’s good to see bands have fun and laugh in the face of mistakes instead of having teen temper tantrums and destroying their equipment before storming off in a “Mom won’t let me wear this slutty top-STOP CONTROLLING ME!” hissy fit off the stage. (yes, I like run on fluff sentences)

How to Disappear Completely. Sent Anna into a 50's musical love lorn look, with folded hands under her chin and one foot raised

Idioteque-was impressive for the bright white lighting patterns; you tube video attached
(of course the video does it no justice. Key word search radiohead+white river, for more videos)

Set list:
01. 15 Step
02. Reckoner
03. Optimistic
04. There There
05. All I Need
06. Pyramid Song
07. Talk Show Host
08. The National Anthem
09. The Gloaming
10. Videotape
11. Lucky
12. Faust Arp
13. Jigsaw Falling Into Place
14. Climbing Up The Walls
15. Dollars and Cents
16. Nude
17. Bodysnatchers
Encore 1
18. How to Disappear Completely
19. Arpeggi/Weird Fishes
20. Idioteque
21. In Limbo
22. Street Spirit
Encore 2
23. You And Whose Army? [Thom dedicates to the people who demonstrated against the WTO in Seattle in 1999]
24. No Surprises
25. Everything In Its Right Place
In all they played a 2hour set and I was pleased that I knew all but one song "Talk show host" and was a little sad they didn't play my fav "Exit music (for a film)"; which I understand...noboyd wants to pass out in a puddle of drool in front of their peers. I think next time they come through, I will have to shell out the money for closer seats, just to get the full effect of band member visuals.

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