As the smell of taquitos and $9 beer filled the air, young and old and others of uncertain age -- the majority in skinny jeans -- convulsed to what was sonically and visually a gorgeous show. But there is only one way to dance to Radiohead, and that is in the flailing, spasmodic manner favored by Thom Yorke himself.
The set list leaned heavily on the gloomier side of a band well known for its masterful handling of gloom. Tracks from "The King of Limbs" and "In Rainbows" featured prominently, but a few nods to earlier gems like "Everything in its Right Place," and -- still one of my favorite songs to hear while lying on the floor after a long night -- "You and Whose Army?" kept the masses in states of ecstasy that followed a continuum of nonstop squealing to wordless tears.
Speaking of words, guess who forgot the lyrics to a piece of the chorus from "Karma Police"? The man who wrote the song. Well, this is what you get when your songwriting outpaces the capacity of your hippocampus.
I mentioned that the show generously mined Radiohead's newer, arguably more sinister material, but this was really a carefully-crafted performance of highs and lows. Just when all five senses were overwhelmed, from pulsing electronic bass lines to eye-searing lights, stage hands would wheel out the piano and we would bliss out to "Give Up the Ghost" as cascading green lights formed a glittering, space-age curtain behind the stage.
Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which the experience of one sense triggers an immediate response in another. Vladimir Nabokov, who learned his numbers by associating them with colors ("nine equals red") had it. After this show I will always associate "Little by Little" with crushing waves of orange flame so bright you could almost hear them, and Phil Selway's hi-hat with trickles of sea-foam blue.
A dozen or so huge screens above the stage gracefully rotated up, down and all around during each song, at times projecting images of the men at work or reflecting the fluid colors of light complementing each song. "It's like we really are IN RAINBOWS," sighed a young guy to my left, completely without irony and thoroughly accurately, in my opinion.
It may have been the heights that were getting to me, but I left the show light headed and fairly needing a debriefing session to process the joy of hearing "Idiotique" live.(Fortunately, my friends -- one of whom drew blood on his hand while clapping too hard before the second encore -- felt the same.)
Little By Little
Morning Mr. Magpie
The Daily Mail
Amazing Sounds of Orgy
Everything in its Right Place
Give Up The Ghost
You and Whose Army?