It was a beautiful day in Cincinnati with partly cloudy skies; a cool breeze and temperatures around 70 degrees as we pulled into the Coney Island parking lots. This was my third time seeing Radiohead. I really consider the In Rainbows Tour my first show because I have little to no memory of them opening for REM in 1995. While walking through the amusement park on the way to the venue, we realized that it had been one year to the day since our last visit.
Caribou opened the show and didn’t garner much attention from the crowd who seemed more concerned about talking through the set. Their mix of electronic dance pop fusion sounds would probably go over well at a festival or in a club. While not being my thing, I didn’t dislike them.
Radiohead took the stage as the sun was still making its decent towards the horizon. They opened the show with “Bloom”, the first track off of their newest album King of Limbs. It’s one of the better songs off the album, in my opinion, and works well to get things started. You really can’t go wrong when you have three different people playing drums on stage. Jonny Greenwood was playing a snare drum for the duration of the song in addition to Phil Selway, and the newest member and second drummer Clive Deamer. Of course, I may be biased since I played drums in school. Next up was a favorite of mine, “Airbag”. I have to admit that Thom was a little off on the timing of his vocals on this one. This prompted me to say to my girlfriend, “I hope he is just getting warmed up and isn’t just drunk.” My concerns were quickly dismissed as they played “Kid A” and “Bodysnatchers”. Next came some new songs I’m mostly unfamiliar with. “Staircase” is in the same thread as a lot of the songs off of King of Limbs. “The Daily Mail” has some potential. This is the point when the sun had set and you could really start to get the full effect of the stuff going on besides the music. Hail to the Thief seems to get a lot of flak from hardcore fans, but I’ve always liked “Myxomatosis” and “The Gloaming”. This is also the point when I noticed the continued color theme for some songs from the In Rainbows Tour. “The Gloaming” had similar yet different green visuals. Even though it’s a slow one, “Nude” is a great tune and really showcases Thom’s incredible voice. 15 Step came as a welcomed surprise as late into the set as it was. “Feral” paved the way for the set closer, “Idioteque”. Once again the colors were the same as the In Rainbows Tour with the screens and LED tubes lit in a turquoise hue. After a very satisfying set, I couldn’t wait for what the encores would treat us with.
The first encore started off with another song from the newest album, “Morning Mr. Magpie”. It features vocals that have the feel of an Islamic prayer and is another one that I really dig. “These are my Twisted Words” was followed by the song of the show for me, “Subterranean Homesick Alien”. It was really nice to hear Thom on the keys center stage for this one. Thom remained behind the keys for the first encore closer and briefly played Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush” that segued into “Everything in its Right Place”. This one got rather psychedelic as Thom was doing some crazy stuff with his vocals and effects and were coupled with delay loops from the guitarists that Trey would be jealous of. All while the dual drummers took it to a world beat trance inducing kind of place. The purple color theme of the lights and screens pulsing with the rhythm was all the more pleasing. They could have finished right there and it would have been a good show, but Radiohead likes to give their fans a little more than the average band of their stature.
The second encore began on a slower note with “Give up the Ghost”. This one reminds me, oddly enough, of a Neil Young song with its high pitched vocal melody and harmonies. After being dedicated to the Queen, they played “National Anthem”. Once again this one gets pretty out there with all the different layering of drum beats, vocals, and the hard driving bass line. Add the haunting guitar riffs and stunning visuals, and you end up with something that is uniquely Radiohead. There isn’t a show out there that is quite like it. “National Anthem” had an outro I had never heard,” Hunting Bears”, but my friends who are big fans were very pleased. They brought it back down a little to close out the show. “Reckoner” has been one of my favorite Radiohead songs since it was released on In Rainbows. While I was hoping for “Paranoid Android”, I’m not sure there could have been a better way to end a great night of music.
If tonight’s Bonnaroo webcast isn’t enough, here’s a high quality HD video of their Coachella show from 4-14-12.