Greetings, literarians, today’s post is a disorganized collection of thoughts about this author’s all-time favorite non-American band: Radiohead. (Favorite American band is, of course, the one and only Wilco). Last fall, I had the shockingly good luck to purchase two out of an estimated 3500 tickets to the Radiohead show at the Roseland. The news surrounding this show was well publicized. Radiohead had not played in America for years, and news of the show was released less than ten days before the tour date. Tickets went on sale Monday morning at 10 am, three days before the show, and buy furiously hitting refresh, refresh, over and over again, I was able to score two tickets.
That show, I’m ashamed to admit, was the biggest disappointment of my life as a music lover. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting. Certain early albums were totally neglected, while recent records were almost played in their entirety. And yet all the other fans in attendance were totally blown away. Objectively, after much soul-wringing and introspection, I was able to put distance between myself and the show, listen to the live recordings of it, and dispassionately agree that it had been a good show, and yet my disappointment came from having felt betrayed by a band I’d loved and followed more than two decades. In that sweet, by-gone summer of 2001, I saw Radiohead perform at the Gorge, hot on the heels of Kid A’s international release. The band, many have argued, was at the height of their artistic powers. And, like the young fans of today, my mind exploded upon seeing them perform live.
Fast forward ten years later. Radiohead has largely ignored the United States during the tumultuous Bush years, and, now under a new regime, Radiohead has again started touring in the States. The Roseland show, which I’d obsessively hyped in my mind all week, was supposed to be as incredible as my experience as a kid, seeing them in the Gorge, back before my life had really started. And yet, as I’ve mentioned, the resulting show full of King of Limbs, In Rainbows, and Hail to the Thief was utterly devastating. The sad truth of it was this: I didn’t know the songs. I didn’t know the band anymore. They’d changed. I’d changed. I was no longer one of the young, insane kids clawing my way to the front of the stage. I WAS OLD.
Now, nine months later, I’m still old (by the standards of rock and roll), but it’s possible I’m about to begin a new phase of my relationship to Radiohead. The time spanning Concert 1 to Concert 2 was something like the larval stage of my fandom. For the past nine months, between Concert 2 and Concert 3, I’ve “molted” into a fully grown fan. Now, with Concert 3 taking place at the Susquehanna Bank Center down in Camden, New Jersey tomorrow (Wednesday) night, I will finally become a fully mature Radiohead fan.
Here’s the set list of the show they placed at the Prudential center two weeks back:
If you click on the above or the below, it’ll take you to the LastFm site where you can listen to all of the songs they played. Here are the encores: