Friday, June 27, 2008

Radiohead @ Victoria Park, 25 June 2008

It’s been an issue at Radiohead gigs since the start of the decade, but I wondered again on Wednesday night how many people in the 20,000-strong crowd in Victoria Park last night really just wanted stadium singalongs. If they did, they got a chunk of these in a crowd-pleasing first encore, but generally it wasn’t a sing-along type of gig. Radiohead gigs never are now– after all, there have been four albums since OK Computer, none of them populated with group song moments.

I also wondered if there are 90s-period Radiohead fans who keep on going to their gigs, in the vain hope that Thom Yorke and co will recant their wayward ways and give us the big chords again. Anyway, given all this, and despite a few complaints about the crowd by other folk, we seemed to land fortunately next to some hardcore Radiohead fans – the sort who sing along and jump around to Idioteque. My kind of people.

I thought I had given up on gigs of this size. I haven’t been anywhere bigger than Shepherd’s Bush Empire for a few years now, but I made an exception for this one, because it was Radiohead, because I love In Rainbows so much and was desperate to hear them playing it, and because it’s nice to go to a gig less than 10 minutes walk from my house. For a show on such a huge scale it was unexpectedly hugely enjoyable. Maybe it was the lovely summer’s evening and the way the site was set up that got me into a festival mindset, even though I don’t even go to festivals this big any more.

Up on the massive stage, we had a dazzling light and film display, the thundering bass and crazy dancing of Idioteque, the rockingly reworked Myxomatosis and 2+2=5, and the whole of In Rainbows – all of which sounded amazing but 15 Step and Bodysnatchers were particularly spine-tingling moments for me. Heck, I even sang along to Karma Police, and I never sing along at gigs. That’s getting into the spirit of things. 11 years on from OK Computer, Radiohead are still a band very much at the top of their game. It makes me happy that a band of this size is still so consistently exciting, intriguing and pushing new directions. In fact the more they go on, the more distance opens up between them and their arena-inclined copyists. Despite being in the middle of a huge international tour, the performance was energetic and spot-on, and the only complaint that I could possibly raise about the whole gig was Thom Yorke’s dodgy red trousers. So good times in Victoria Park, a thrilling show and excited anticipation of Radiohead's next moves...

Download: Radiohead – The National Anthem
Download: Radiohead – Bodysnatchers
Download: Radiohead – Idoteque
Download: Radiohead – Karma Police

Set list after the pic (hard to beat this, IMO)

1. Reckoner
2. 15 Step
3. There There
4. All I Need
5. Lucky
6. Nude
7. Weird Fishes / Arpeggi
8. Myxomatosis
9. National Anthem
10. Faust Arp
11. No Surprises
12. Jigsaw Falling Into Place
13. Optimistic
14. Videotape
15. Everything In Its Right Place
16. Idioteque
17. Bodysnatchers

Encore 1

18. House of Cards
19. The Bends
20. Bangers & Mash
21. My Iron Lung
22. Karma Police

Encore 2

23. Go Slowly
24. 2+2=5
25. Paranoid Android

For more Radiohead tour-centric stats super-nerdishness, check out this. If you’re in Manchester or Glasgow, predict your set lists!


mike hunt said...

thanks for putting this up. i've been following your blog for about a year now, and i share the same views as you about this gig, i was indeed about one of those people dancing along to idioteque. unfortunately i was surrounded by a small group of people who kept on talking through songs such as videotape. keep it going, i enjoy reading your posts. said...

Did neither of you think that they and the band may be right and you wrong?
Things move on.
Move on with them or stay home.

kenyon said...

where was this? england?

Anonymous said...

derek smalls?

twas London

great review mr growl! although you fail to record at which point you decided it was okay to remove your shades...

The Daily Growl said...

I waited till I was sure that I wouldn't be recognised...

Anonymous said...

Working for the clampdown.

Not Quite a Contrarian said...

Spot on review sir.

Here's my own gamble at it - review.

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