Radiohead @ Victoria Park, London, 24 June, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Gigs - 2008 Gigs
Written by TK   
Radiohead, surely one of the world's most talented and innovative bands, played to a packed crowd at Victoria Park on the first night of the UK leg of its world tour.

As lead singer Thom Yorke stared across the vast crowd in the outdoor setting under initially clear skies - which created a festival-like atmosphere on the night - he confessed that he had been “nervous” before the show but had been put at ease by the “great vibes” of the crowd.

At danger of sounding like a tabloid celebrity columnist being 'amazed' at how 'human' a celebrity is, Thom Yorke is exactly that.  As much can be told by the reflective and pained nature of the song lyrics.

Opening the set with “15 Step” and “Bodysnatchers”, it was quickly apparent by the crowd's reaction that the fans either fell into one of two categories - those who still think of the band in its “Ok Computer” more listener-friendly times, and those who have persisted with supporting the band through more self-indulgent and less commercial times.  Most of “Kid A” and albums since have been much more heavily focused on creativity than melody.

Unfortunately for me, I fall under the first category of supporters and still see Radiohead with “Karma Police” and “Creep” rose-coloured glasses.  However, it did not appear that I was in the minority on the night.  In fact, most of the crowd stared at the band in awe, if not recognition of the songs, for most of the bands set-list before the extended first encore.  It was not until “Just” came roaring through the massive speakers that the bulk of the crowd sparked-up which prompted some of the snobbier Radiohead fans - yes there are a few - to arrogantly bemoan that, “suddenly everyone knows the words... we've known them all along”.  Well done, you.

Thom Yorke is a man of few words, yet it was obvious to everyone that his band and he were charged up on the night and performed five songs in the first encore and three in the second.  The eeriness of “You and Whose Army” was amplified by close-ups on Thom's face being projected to the big screen, “Idioteque” was infinitely more intense live than on record, and “Just” a perfect rock moment on a night of down-tempo tunes.  The rendition of “Climbing Up The Walls” was a stand-out moment.

Radiohead's concert was as entertaining as it was intriguing - and for those fans who had not sampled the new album “In Rainbows” yet, it was a perfect introduction to the album.  In fact, the band played most of the new album's more melodically-focused tunes!

However, overall many of Radiohead's older (and oldest) fans were slightly disappointed that they did not play more old material.  But it has to be said that only a band with the talent of Radiohead could get away with playing through the whole of a new album and a few of their hits and still get away with it.

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