Didn’t nab a ticket to Radiohead’s U.S. tour? Here’s what you might be missing. The British rock act started their American sojourn last night (Feb. 27) and bowed two brand new songs, on top of playing “OK Computer” B-Side “Meeting in the Aisle.”
Thom Yorke introduced “Identikit” and “Cut a Hole/Skirting on the Surface,” two fresh tracks; the first features two vocal counter-melodies, with Yorke’s opposite struggling with the pitch. But it’s mesmerizing nonetheless. The latter is a little more aaaaaaahhhhhhhhmbbbbeeeeeient, as the frontman meanders through some long vowels to a slow, dirge-like rhythm section. It’s also led by a synth line, feeling much less organic.
Then there’s “Meeting in the Aisle,” which was recorded much closer to the stage. Thus, we get to see a Yorke-y silly dance.
The band played two encores, ended with “Karma Police” and performed from different time-spans in their catalog, though they stuck with a lot of current and recent work, with seven of the eight tracks from latest “The King of Limbs” plus recent outtake/singles “The Daily Mail” and “Staircase.”
Below are some pull-quotes from reviews of the kick-off show, held at Miami’s American Airlines Arena.
…After nearly two hours of soaking in the band”s more current work, it was nice to just go back. To date, the radio staple continues to hit all the right chords – literally and metaphorically – and fits right in with anything they”ve worked on since. Some might call it a tease, the fans who grew up on Pablo Honey, The Bends, or OK Computer, but they”d most likely agree that despite the misses (“Paranoid Android”, “Everything In Its Right Place”, or “Fake Plastic Trees” would have struck anyone”s heart), the UK export gave concertgoers something they couldn”t experience elsewhere.
…If not for the high-tech stage design – roughly a dozen video screens rotated above the musicians” heads, offering close-ups of their often-expressionless faces – and Yorke”s arrhythmic, squirrel-on-a-hot-stove dancing, there would have been little reason to look up from your smartphone. While appearing to have been produced by two, at times four, actual humans, the drumming was bloodless and mechanical. Likewise, the guitars were treated as ornaments, overwhelmed as they were by the garish display of technolike effects and bubbling keyboards.
And then, at exactly the show”s halfway point, Radiohead remembered that it used to be a rock band.
…There was one first-night seizure. Yorke and Jonny had to stop one of the encores, the circular breath of “Give Up the Ghost,” then start again after Jonny had trouble triggering the singer’s cumulative whooping loops. But it was done and dealt with in embarrassed good humor, an unexpected way into the mood that sealed the evening. Earlier, Radiohead whipped the crowd into a final dancefloor paroxysm with the fat drum-army sensation of Kid A‘s “Idioteque.” But the more fitting climax was the second-encore trio of “Give Up the Ghost,” “Reckoner,” and “Karma Police,” a sustained demonstration of grace through anguish, trial and suspicion.
Here is Radiohead’s setlist from last night:
2. The Daily Mail
3. Morning Mr Magpie
5. National Anthem
6. Meeting in the Aisle
7. Kid A
8. The Gloaming
10. You and Whose Army?
13. Lotus Flower
14. There There
20. Cut A Hole
22. Give Up the Ghost
24. Karma Police