Photos courtesy of Riaz. If you find a picture of someone reading a newspaper magazine during the Kings of Leon set, that would be him. Please send the link my way!
I risked nearly failing a very important certification exam today, because I devoted all of Saturday to seeing Radiohead and Sunday to recovering from Radiohead. Since I passed (barely), I am going to think that Radiohead helped me pass.
Seeing Radiohead was absolutely amazing, even life-changing. Remember when Anton Ego took a bite of the ratatouille in that Pixar movie? For me, seeing Radiohead for the first time was similar to that. I"m going to attempt to explain why that was the case.
Going to a Radiohead concert is not just about seeing them perform onstage. It's about waiting in line to see Radiohead, sitting around for Radiohead, meeting hardcore Radiohead fans (Note: Tell them that you're about to see your first Radiohead show and their eyes will light up. You can actually see them remember their first experience), suffering through terrible acts for Radiohead, standing for an entire hour before Radiohead hit the stage just because you were too excited to sit. The almost surreal part is that you're not alone. You're surrounded by people who are going through exactly the same thing and they're all asking themselves the same exact thing: How many more minutes until Radiohead? What is so awesome about seeing the band is this entire experience. That includes all the hours I spent thinking about seeing Radiohead, actually seeing Radiohead, and then reflecting on seeing Radiohead.
Although the line-up at All Points West was pretty weak and the festival itself was way overpriced, I shelled out the money just for Radiohead. I had the privilege of attending the show with some very devoted Radiohead fans, which completely made my experience. I arrived at Liberty State Park shortly before the gates opened. Luckily, the guys that I was with made a run for it, so we ended up being maybe 5-6 people away from the rail (You can spot me in the second to last picture here). I got to the spot around 12:25 pm. I didn't leave that spot until Radiohead left the stage (I'm guessing around 11 pm).
The entire day was just a waiting game. The guys sitting behind us had been chasing Radiohead around on the tour, had seen them six times or something. Stories of rare song performances were exchanged, always including the venue/city/festival, year, and song title. As my friend asked, when was the last time you were this excited about anything? I don't think I've ever shared being this excited about anything with thousands of other people.
My friend had this little black notebook where he kept track of the previous night's incredible setlist (I should have been there. Screw FINRA). Slowly, a wishlist of songs was created and shared with the people around us. Would the list be fulfilled? Time would tell. I'll just add that a guy standing near me most wanted to hear "Kid A." When Radiohead started playing the intro to the song, he looked like he was going to die of happiness. He raised his arms into the air (as if he were rejoicing) before he hugged his friend. Powerful stuff, this Radiohead.
So I suffered through Animal Collective. Shudder. But, it was all worth it when Radiohead took the stage. Oh yea, this was one very serious, respectful crowd. During songs like "Exit Music (For a Film)," the crowd was completely silent. If anyone tried to say anything during such songs, shushing would come from all directions.
The show itself, I wish I could explain in words what it was like. I guess you will just have to experience it for yourself. I definitely see the appeal in going to multiple Radiohead shows. These guys have over a hundred songs, so no two shows are exactly the same. And, it's not like they can play every single song in one set, as much as I wish it were possible. I definitely respect these guys for being able to perform so many of the songs (good memory).
Speaking of good memories...one of the guys I was with could identify most of the songs by the instrument setup, a note, or a beat. I have to tell you, that's an amazing talent.
Now, when I listen to certain songs, I get the same chills that I had when I heard them performed live.
Also, I never realized how much of a badass Jonny Greenwood is. Well, he is a badass. He is an amazing guitarist, and he's always doing so many things at once. My friend said that on Friday night, Jonny was playing the guitar and using the head of the guitar to play the keyboard.
I don't know where this picture is from but Jonny is awesome.
Do yourself a serious favor. Pay the money and see this band. I'm counting down to my next Radiohead concert.
Crowd anxiously awaits.
Jonny Greenwood is my hero.
Setlist (courtesy of brooklynvegan)
02. 15 Step
03. The National Anthem
04. Kid A
05. All I Need
07. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
08. Where I End And You Begin
09. The Gloaming
10. Faust Arp
11. No Surprises
12. Jigsaw Falling Into Place
13. The Bends
14. Bangers and Mash
15. Everything In Its Right Place
16. Exit Music (For A Film)
18. Pyramid Song
21. Fake Plastic Trees
22. There There
23. House of Cards
24. Planet Telex
Idioteque (from I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings) - Radiohead