Monday, 30 June 2008

LIVE REVIEW: RADIOHEAD - Manchester - LCCG, Old Trafford - 29th June 2008

Radiohead are one of the greatest bands of our time. I could finish the review there but i'll continue because this show was full of so many memorable moments that they should be discussed at length.

After a heavy morning's rain (so torrential that it leaked through the roof of our bus), we expected a wash-out but amazingly, prophetically, the sun came out. The LCCG is a great venue. HUGE. Arriving at 4pm, the time the gates opened, we were lucky enough to be greeted by a smiling Thom Yorke who waved at the incoming crowd from a private box in one of the stands.
The Greenwood borthers also popped there heads out from time to time which was another surreal moment. They seemed equally has happy to see us.

Support was provided by young electro-rockers MGMT and the rather pretentious BAT FOR LASHES and both managed to get a positive response from the crowd. We spotted Thom Yorke dancing from his private box during MGMT's song "Electric Feel" which provoked more of the crowd to start gyrating to its funky pulsating rythm.

Ok, frig all this build up, lets get down to business: RADIOHEAD came out at 8.15pm and blew everyone away with a set that featured 26 songs from across multiple albums even going as far back as "The Bends".

Opening with the trip-hop infused "15 Step" from last year's "In Rainbows" the Oxford boys held the crowd from start to finish, barely pausing for breath in the full 2 hours. The moment that will live on forever in my memory was the double punch of my two favourite Radiohead songs played back to back: "Everything In Its Right Place" and "Fake Plastic Trees". I felt my eyes well up as "Fake Plastic Trees" reached its crescendo after the soaring guitar shred. Thom sang perfectly and his fragile, touching lyrics remain in my mind.

"She looks like the real thing, She tastes like the real thing... My fake plastic love..."

The main set ended with the guitar-laden "Bodysnatchers" and the band walked off to chants of "we want more" from the crowd. As expected the band came back for an encore. And what an encore. Opening with a hauntingly delicate version of "Videotape" they then moved into the edgy "Myxomatosis" which ended with Thom bowing to the adoring shouts of the crowd and recieving their applause with his arms outstretched. They left the stage again after remarkable performances of their "OK Computer" classics "Paranoid Android" and "Kharma Police"

And then they returned. There was an audible gasp from the crowd as the opening notes of "Pyramid Song" echoed over the speakers. Micheal, who was also at the gig, named this moment as his favourite of the night and only at a concert jam-packed with memorable moments could anyone argue with him. The second encore finished with "Idioteque" which caused a mass rave to erupt in the crowd as Thom danced like he was having a seizure on stage. It was a wonderful end to a wonderful gig and as I looked around i saw thousands of smiles staring up at the stage. a

The lights went out and then, to the roar of the crowd, the band returned once more."We still have time left before we turn into pumpkins. Or mice or whatever the fuck it is," Thom muttered, getting a laugh from the 20, 000 people in front of him. The band played one last song for the adoring crowd, the aptly named "Lucky".

It was a concert that obliterated my high expectaions. I found myself staring in sheer awe at the spectacle in front of me: 5 multi-talented artists performing 26 of the most beautifully written, original songs in recent history to an army of fans accompanied by a world-class light-show and stage set-up.

To quote the lyrics of the song "Videotape",

"No matter what happens now, You shoudn't be afraid, Because I know that today has been, The most beautiful day I've ever seen..."


15 Step
There There
All I Need
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
The Gloaming
The National Anthem
Faust Arp
No Surprises
Jigsaw Falling Into Place
Bangers ‘n Mash
Everything In Its Right Place
Fake Plastic Trees

1st Encore
Paranoid Android
Karma Police

2nd Encore
Pyramid Song

3rd Encore

Verdict: ***** (5/5) - Did you expect anything less?

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