Thom Yorke Performs In Boston: Recap, Photos & Setlist

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Words & Images by: Bryan Lasky

Thom Yorke :: 11.24.18 :: Wang Theatre
Boston, MA

Thanksgiving weekend is usually a time spent with family and friends at home. You might go shopping for some deals or you might go to the theater to see a movie. On Saturday night many came out to see Thom Yorke with opener Oliver Coates, and while there wasn’t an official film screening, it felt like an evening of vignettes.

Coates started the night with his cello, a lot of loops and a computer with pre-recorded vocals and instrumentation and proceeded to wow the audience. Being a film composer, the songs he played were atmospheric and dark. The otherworldly sounds he produced led the very attentive audience into dark psychedelic territory that the crowd ate up. Coates would stretch the notes of his cello out into loops and then play on top of those to create wild sonic movements that eventually led into and out of the recorded vocals. With minimal lighting and a forceful sound enveloping the theatre, Coates made for an impressive start to the evening.

After a short break Yorke came out on stage with Nigel Godrich and Tarik Barri and launched into one of the best audio and visual sets of the year. Thom and Nigel switched between bass, guitar, drum machines, piano and a few other gadgets for a little under two hours. Tarik’s job was directing the visuals, which he was live mixing on stage to be projected over the crowd behind the trio. Having seen a lot of different light shows, this is one of the more impressive ones I have seen of recent memory. The background was almost like an updated Joshua Light Show, with moments when it looked like lights were floating behind the musicians. At times it seemed like the stargate scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey was coming to life right before my eyes.

As for the music, Yorke was in fine form, opening the show with “Interference.” During the first few numbers, the crowd sat but that all ended during “Impossible Knots” as he commanded the audience to stand – not with his voice but by his dancing around and waving his arms about – and they remained standing for the duration. Yorke barely stayed still the rest of the evening. His material is far more conducive to dancing than Radiohead‘s catalog, and while people were enjoying themselves in their seat, this show probably would have been more enjoyable in a full general admission setting.

“Cymbal Rush” was an early highlight, with the music and visuals building to a grand crescendo that had the audience going absolutely wild. The energy continued right through “The Clock” and “Two Feet Off the Ground” before Thom and Nigel went into the first of two Atoms For Peace songs of the night with “Amok.” Watching the pair bopping along to the music they were creating on stage together felt like watching a couple of DJ’s knowing exactly where to take the crowd next to set off a frenzy. The 15-song main set came to a close with a great version of “Twist.”

The first encore, as was the prior set, was the same as the tour opener in Philadelphia featuring “The Axe,” “Atoms for Peace” and “Default.” The three songs are some of Thom’s best work outside of Radiohead and the crowd was all in for them. Though the crowd probably knew there was going to be a second encore, they made sure of it, as they showered love upon Thom, Nigel and Tarik, making sure they came back out for one more. The first night of the tour saw the debut of “Unmade” from Yorke’s Suspiria soundtrack but Boston was treated to a different song from the film. Before launching into the debut of “Suspirium,” Yorke said he was going to do his best with the track and it sounded beautiful with just Thom and his piano captivating the Wang Theatre to end the show.

Photos

Thom Yorke 11.24 Wang Theatre - Bryan Lasky 24
Thom Yorke 11.24 Wang Theatre - Bryan Lasky 26
Thom Yorke 11.24 Wang Theatre - Bryan Lasky 20

Suspirium Captured by Antoine P

Setlist

Thom Yorke at Wang Theatre

  • Interference
  • A Brain in a Bottle
  • Impossible Knots
  • Black Swan
  • I Am a Very Rude Person
  • Pink Section
  • Nose Grows Some
  • Cymbal Rush
  • The Clock
  • Two Feet Off the Ground
  • Amok  
  • Not the News
  • Truth Ray
  • Traffic
  • Twist
Encore
  • The Axe
  • Atoms for Peace
  • Default  
Encore
  • Suspirium  

Tour Dates for
Thom Yorke