The Astoria London Live [DVD] Review

artist: Radiohead date: 03/30/2009 category: compact discs
Radiohead: The Astoria London Live [DVD]
Release Date: November 21, 2005
Live at the Astoria is a live concert video of Radiohead's show at the London Astoria venue on 27 May 1994, notable mainly for its collection of songs that would not appear until the release of The Bends, ten months later.
 Sound: 9
 Content: 8
 Production Quality: 8
 Overall Impression: 10
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overall: 8.8
The Astoria London Live [DVD] Reviewed by: toyboxmonster, on march 30, 2009
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Sound: Though Radiohead's earliest work is usually considered to be much less texture-oriented and experimental than their later work (even by me), "The Astoria London Live" proves this notion wrong. Their sound is surprisingly layered and developed, particularly on the tracks from "The Bends". It is, of course, much more straightforward rock 'n' roll than the music featured on later releases such as "Kid A" and "Hail To The Thief", but it already hints at the subtle textures and experimentation which would later define them. For example, the ending minutes of "Street Spirit" consist of a beautifully layered wall of sound, and "Fake Plastic Trees" gradually gains volume until all the instruments and the vocals blend into the same strain of texture. Singer/guitarist Thom Yorke's vocals are raw and powerful on stage and holds up very well throughout the show. Johnny Greenwood's playing is of particular interest on this release because it allows him to display his talent on the guitar, and instrument that was often replaced for a keyboard on later Radiohead releases. // 9

Overall Impression: This is Radiohead's only live video/DVD release to date; this is most likely due to the fact that their newer performances would not translate to video quite as well as the all-out alternative rock featured on "The Astoria London Live". Having seen Radiohead live in recent years, I have to say that there is a tremendous difference both in their presence and attitude on the stage and in their live sound. This DVD is therefore extremely useful in keeping a record of what this band once was, and in reminding fans that there are other songs than "Creep" on "Pablo Honey". The setlist is fairly even, though it does slow down a little near the end. All in all, this is a great show to watch, even for fans (like myself) who prefer the more abstract material of "OK Computer" and beyond. // 10

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