Sound: You'd think that since Radiohead is my favorite band of all time that I would have seen them at least once, but this was actually my first experience with the band. Oddly enough, I felt slightly disappointed (mainly because of the setlist, which I will get to later). However, the band hasn't lost a step in their musical capabilities and may have even gotten better in some respects. Naturally, the more electronic stuff off of "Kid A" and "Amnesiac" were extremely interesting to hear live. They take on a more rock feel. The sound effects and guitar playing provided by Johnny Greenwood on his Telecaster were flat-out fantastic. Thom Yorke's voice thankfully didn't crack like it's been prone to do during live shows and he added the appropriate third guitar, keyboard, or piano playing. Phil Selway's drumming had an added intensity to it that I haven't heard from him before and that really added strong rhythm necessary for the hectic music style. The acoustics of the venue were surprisingly good since it's essentially outside with the seating area covere by a giant tarp. No notes were lost in the shuffle and the band was as tight as I've ever heard them. // 10
Perfomance: Let me start off by saying that I have never in my life heard a crowd so into a show before. There wasn't a single person in the audience that wasn't screaming like a maniac. A few of my fellow concert patrons were actually brought to tears in several parts. The band had quite a bit of energy (as was expected). Thom Yorke has to be one of the greatest dancers alive. He moved like a cross between Elvis and a snake. Ed O'Brien and Colin Greenwood were damn good and played to the crowd quite a bit. There were a few moments in the show where I was completely captivated by the on-stage antics and dazzling light show, although I have to admit that it was sort of disappointing to hear so much new material (especially when the album won't even be out until next year). It kind of threw off the pace a bit for me, but it's hard to walk away that disappointed when so much of the material was so strong. The setlist was a collection of all songs, past and present, with each album being represented, with the obvious exception of Pablo Honey.
01. Climbing Up The Walls - a really surprising opener. Maybe not the greatest song to kick off the night with, but it was still a very nice surprise to hear it. It has an added sense of urgency when played live.
02. Bangers 'n' Mash - it's funny when bands play new material and everyone pretends to know what song it is. The song itself was pretty good, but the actual performance of it had the entire crowd going insane. Very engaging lighting effects on this one.
03. 15 Step - kind of had a false start on this one, but it came out sounding just fine. This was my favorite of the new songs and I can't wait to hear how it sounds on the album.
04. Morning Bell - this is where the crowd came unglued. I've always felt that Kid A is their strongest album (even trouncing the almight OK Computer) and hearing this particular track was a nice touch. I remember hearing that this song was about divorce and do a recent event happening to a very close friend, this performance held much more relevance that sent chills up my spine.
05. Kid A - I've always been curious how they would pull this song off live. Hearing the song actually sung without the electronic distortion and enhancement was quite a treat. It really shows off Yorke's vocal range. The lullaby-esque riff that opens the song was played back pre-recorded, but sounded very natural.
06. Fake Plastic Trees - I was completely taken aback by the fact that they played this song. Previous live recordings that I've heard have all sounded like they resent this song and they try to play it rather obnoxiously. But tonight, it sounded pitch-perfect. It sounded exactly how it was originaly intended: a beautiful, torment-filled song and was one the highlights of the night.
07. Videotape - more new stuff. Hard to get into, but enjoyable nevertheless because... well, it's Radiohead and all.
08. Bodysnatchers - hardly remember this one. Although I do remember that the crowd was really into this one as the band put a lot into it. Although the fact that can't even think of the the tune isn't necessarily a good thing.
09. Where I End And You Begin - one of my lesser favorite songs off of Hail to the Thief. I could have done with "Paranoid Android" or "Exit Music" instead of this, but nevertheless, it was nice to hear a familiar song after all the new stuff. And my God, was it chilling to hear 3,000 people chanting, "I will eat you alive."
10. Knives Out - execellent performance of the song that the crowd was really into. There was an explosion of cheering and applause when that infamously somber opening riff was played. Even the playfulness of the song live didn't hinder its effect.
11. There There - I was very glad to hear this song played. This paricular performance nearly brought sensory overload. It was loud, intense, and downright creepy. I've never heard it sound better and I probably never will again.
12. Nude - this has always been kind of an unreleased gem from the band that it seems most people recognized. It's getting an official release evidently with a different title (originally called "Big Ideas (Don't Get Any)). The new stuff all sounds solid, but this, along with "15 Step" were the highlights.
13. Just - the guitar solo was amazing. It's wonderful hearing the old, forgotten classics being dug out of the closet for this go-around. Flat-out stupendous.
14. Spooks - would you be surprised if I said it was spooky? Well, it was pretty good, too. One of those other songs that shows off the band's versatility.
15. Idioteque - it started out kind of slowly, but by the time the line, "Ice age coming," hit, the crowd broke lose, the music intensified, and I saw the greatest light display I've ever witnessed at a concert. This song always made me feel like the end of the world was coming and I'm conflicted when I say that the effect is carried over perfectly live (it's sweet, but definitely disturbing at the same time).
16. House Of Cards - this songs was kind of hard to hear. Some morbidly obese kid sitting next to me wouldn't stop screaming his affection for the drummer so I am unable to comment accurately on it, but I do remember liking it a bit.
17. Planet Telex - this was the tightest-sounding song of the night. Everything about it was perfect. It was loud, bassy, and featured the greatest light show I've seen since "Idoteque" was played fifteen minutes ago. Also, it's a song off of The Bends, so you can't go wrong. One of the night's highlights.
18. Like Spinning Plates - sounds extremely different live than it does on the album. I didn't recognize it until it was essentially over. It's a lot more chilling in person because of its stripped-down sound. If you see Radiohead, keep your fingers crossed that they play this song because it's a very, very interesting experience.
19. Arpeggi - the coolest title out of all the new songs, but by this point, I was too frustrated with all the new material that it hindered my enjoyment of it. It's a good song and it was well-performed, but I really missed hearing some of the classics.
20. No Suprises - well, this will do just fine. Several people have stated to me that this is the most depressing song they've ever heard in their life (which is easy to see why), but the crowd had quite a bit of fun with it. There was a huge reaction to the line, "Bring down the government/They don't speak for us." Aside from feeling vindicated, I got a good laugh out of it, as well. After the song ended, Thom played a little extra bit from the backing vocals in the chorus that are almost indescipherable, but it's a line so chilling that I was almost brought to tears by it. I won't spoil it for you if you are unfamiliar with the line, but keep an ear out for it next time.
21. Everyting In Its Right Place - this got the biggest crowd reaction of the night. The atmosphere was absolutely heart-stopping for this number. It couldn't have been played better if they tried. The fact that everyone was screaming the words and clapping in unison gave a certain urgency to the song that was set up by the studio version.
22. The Tourist - my personal highlight. This is my favorite song from the band that I hold a lot of personal stock in and was a perfect way to end the show. There was some neat improvisations during the ending guitar solo, but the song had a very calming effect on the crowd as they just stood there and watched as the song's beautiful, haunting climax took a hold of them. The whole experience of this single song is probably one of the greatest, most surreal moments of my life. // 9
Overall Impression: USA, Boston, MA, Bank of America Pavilion, June 5th, 2006. I was in such awe of the fact that I was finally getting to see my favorite band live that the "downspots" of the night are totally insignificant. Although, I feel as if I have to see them a few more times just so I can hear every song that I want to hear. Nevertheless, I can't wait till they come around again (which won't be for a long, long time). The crowd was so into the entire show. Even the opening act (the delightful folk singer Willy Mason) got a huge reaction from the at that point sparse crowd. I've heard that all Radiohead shows are like this one. If that's the case, I will travel around the world to see them. Again, I wasn't too big on the fact that they played so much new material, but when the best parts of the show came around, they made you feel happy to be alive and able to witness them. Tonight only reiterated my belief that Radiohead is the best band of all time. // 9