Radiohead @ Riverbend 6.5.12
June 6th, 2012 by Matt
One of the funniest things about Radiohead is that they’re otherwordly talented that they don’t have to take the easy path. Whether that means releasing their painstakingly crafted album online in a pay-what-you-want fashion or sitting on albums worth of incredible b-sides and unreleased songs, it’s all the same. Similarly, this tour finds one of the biggest bands in the world playing a set almost entirely devoid of their most popular singles.
I’ll admit that if Radiohead offered a “pick the night’s setlist” show like the Flaming Lips did for Pitchfork a few years back, I would’ve only chosen about half a dozen of the songs that they played last night. But after seeing the show they put on when the setlist leans heavy into some of the tracks that aren’t my impulse to pull down off the shelf, I can’t imagine last night’s show any other way.
If you haven’t gathered, I’m not that big into King of Limbs compared to the rest of Radiohead’s work. After last night, however, I think that beautiful clear vinyl (brag brag brag) will spend a bit more time on my turntable. Of the songs that won me over, none climbed higher in my esteem than “Separator.” If that doesn’t find a regular home in their setlists from now on, I’ll be a little surprised. And as for songs with which to come back from an encore break, they only have a few songs that could top the beauty of Thom and Johnny performing an acoustic/electric duo version of “Give Up the Ghost.” It reminded me of being 16 years old and watching downloaded videos of Radiohead in the pre-youtube days and thinking I’d never be able to experience something that powerful. This was a set full of those moments.
While the recent songs were great, we did get a fair amount of songs that have stuck in the setlist for years. “Kid A” got a surprisingly early slot in the set, just after “Airbag.” We also had the tour debut of “Subterranean Homesick Alien” (my first time hearing that one), and the jaw-dropping inclusion of “Everything In Its Right Place” with the Neil Young “After the Gold Rush” introduction. Thom mangled the lyrics to that cover, but it’s a Radiohead moment I never dreamed I’d see.
Lots more photos after the break