Radiohead @ Key Arena 04.09.12

April 10, 2012
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Radiohead played the Key Arena last night, and as far as these concert things go, it doesn't get much bigger, or more hyped than when these guys make their way across the pond. As such was the vibe before the lights dipped down to the delight of the crowd. Radiohead need do little mor e than walk out onstage to remind us that there's still something special about the spectacle of an arena show. Screens float above the band like quiet little angels. Projections of the members streaming along as they kick off the set with Bloom from their latest effort. Awash in turquoise light from many luminescent tubes, screens and LED's. The cubic screens rise and fall on strings between songs like marionettes. 

There's just something special about seeing a band of this caliber with such a strong catalogue. All killer no filler truly. Also, It's amazing how intimate the show feels despite it's size. Little banter between songs but when there is it's soft spoken. Everyone in the crowd is absolutely transfixed from the top of the 200's to the front row. All trapped in a zombie like groove.

Pyramid Song off the groups 2nd book end to their brilliant early 2000 experimentation, amnesiac brings the show to a grinding halt. Not in sort of any momentum killing, or vibe killing way, but nearly quite the opposite. Tom's wretched vocals sail over the heads of a silent and respectful audience, who's biggest cheer thus far erupted upon the songs first strikes of the piano. All but naturally fading into The Daily Mail, a b-side from The King of Limbs which Tom elaborated by saying "This is a song about a rag in england, the kind who are hacking peoples cellphones and picking through peoples emails. It's called the daily mail."

Another thing about the band which is somewhat of a double edged sword, is that despite such a huge catalogue of hits, they almost always save space to play some of the rarer, deeper cuts. In tonights case a really special treat, "These Are My Twisted Words" completed the trifecta for the best run of songs in the night. A track which the band themselves secretly released to torrents a few months previous to King Of Limbs. Dark and winding, and likely largely unknown to the sea of people filling the sold out Key, but on the flip side, for those that did, extremely exciting.

There was a new track, Identikt starts with a weird acapella sound off between Tom and Ed before breaking into some super ridiculous bizarre latin groove. The whole track felt like new and fresh territory for the band, and a direction that may have been better explored in the studio than perhaps many of the KOL tracks filling out tonights set.  There's a definite Jammy feel about the new material live, which creates an atmosphere dangerously on the side of drony and almost sometimes ambiguous..

By the encore it still feels as if we've just arrived but at this point Tom has to go find their second drummer who is clearly lost back stage, enforcing that the whole show is marked with minor obvious moments of Tom speaking with band members, still working out elements. The first show in 3 weeks is not rough by any means but is marked with the occasional off moment, but it's nice to see they're human. 

It's fascinating to watch johnnys playing style, ranging from huge strokes of the guitar, to violin bows to fiddling with sequencers and keyboards. Looking around the key it's a weird mix of people dancing, sitting down and spacing out. But one thing is for sure. Everyones having their own experience.

The show draws to a close with KID A's masterpiece opening track, "Everything In Its Right Place". Truly fitting as just about every person in that arena felt that way as the band sucked us in one last time before disappearing for who knows how long.  Depending on your album preferences the show may have swung one way or another for you as the set laid heavily on the bands last 2 records, that said. Is there such a thing as a bad setlist from Radiohead? We certainly didn't find out tonight.

Setlist:

Bloom 
15 Step
Airbag
Little by Little
Myxomatosis
The Gloaming
Morning Mr. Magpie
Pyramid Song
The Daily Mail
These Are My Twisted Words
Nude
Identikit
Lotus Flower
There There
Feral
Idioteque

Encore:
How to Disappear Completely
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
You and Whose Army?
Lucky

Encore 2:

Give Up the Ghost
Reckoner
Everything In Its Right Place