Most Important Shows of The Decade

Radiohead | 06/17/06
Bonnaroo Music Festival | Manchester, TN

Photo of Radiohead's Thom Yorke on 06/17/06 at Bonnaroo by Dave Vann
Few bands are more un-hippy than Radiohead, so their Saturday night headlining slot at Bonnaroo '06 signaled a sharp turn towards modernity for the festival. It was hardly the first time these Glastonbury vets had played for mud flecked, long haired masses, but there's something resolutely non-jammy about Radiohead and attendees were pretty evenly split between those thrilled to have arguably the greatest rock band in the world serenade them and those who genuinely thought they were a duck out of water at the 'Roo. However, once they started playing their hyper-alive sound and permeating depth swiftly gathered up the packed crowd. A young, dreadlocked, peasant skirt wearing String Cheese fan told us before the show that she'd never heard a note by Radiohead but was curious based on their rep. A few songs in, having been splendidly tousled by "There There," "2+2=5" and a pre-In Rainbows "15 Step," she bellowed from the back of the huge field, "I like your music!" It was a succinct, heartfelt exclamation and serves to illustrate how intensely moving Radiohead's music can be. And the band appeared to be just as smitten with the Bonnaroo audience, with frontman Thom Yorke giving as good as he got in a glow stick war and shimmying like a jellyfish that'd just been hit with a car battery. The first encore was almost a second set with eight songs, including a blistering early "Bodysnatchers," and the second encore delivered us to the celestial plateau of "Everything In Its Right Place."

Afterwards, Yorke told BBC Radio, "We did this festival called Bonnaroo. We did 2.5 hours. And there's 80,000 people, admittedly they've been smoking the sticky green all day - probably wouldn't go anywhere anyway. It was just amazing. We played loads of new stuff. We did whole sections of quiet piano songs and it sounds like the most grotesque, self-indulgent nonsense, but it probably is my favourite gig for years and years and years." (Dennis Cook)


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