*Updated thoughts about being disappointed by the show last night, feeling guilty about that disappointment, and then trying to figure out the cause of the disappointment, when many people seemed completely thrilled by it:
Someday we might call this “your father’s Radiohead.” This is the revolutionary band that produced The Bends, OK Computer, Kid A, and Amnesiac in succession, in less than ten years, taking major artistic strides with every album. Amnesiac seems like the capstone of this effort, as it blends Kid A’s experimentation with noise, while retaining some of the melodic, brilliant concessions to accessibility that were common on OK Computer. The last time the Literary Man saw Radiohead live, the year was 2001, the venue was the Columbia River Gorge, and Thom Yorke played some of the songs from Amnesiac that no one had ever heard before.
It’s of course ridiculous to assume that — ten years later — the band would put on the same kind of show. And yet it was very difficult to expect what kind of show they would play, as they haven’t played New York in three years, and their musical style has, of course, continued to evolve. So, to recap, it wasn’t a bad show, at all. It was a well-executed show that featured a completely different sampling of music — new music — than what was expected.
This Radiohead emerged with Hail to the Thief, followed up with In Rainbows, and has now released King of Limbs. Kid A is the artistic predecessor of the band’s latest release, but King of Limbs seems to lack the urgency and desperation of Kid A, and its melodies don’t quite measure up to the emotional resonance of Amnesiac’s “Pyramids” or “Life in a Glass House.” And yet fans at the show last night seemed to react positively to the Limbs tracks.
It’s interesting to see that an entirely new generation of fans have emerged in the past ten years, whose interest stems largely from these more recent albums. The Literary Man interacted with one young teenaged fan at the show who was trying to decide whether he should spend his last 40 dollars on an insanely overpriced t-shirt or save it to take a cab home, as his mother had instructed him to do. In the end, he bought the shirt. Good for him. Of course the t-shirt isn’t worth 40 bucks, but it’s a better souvenir than a comfortable ride home from the show.