When I heard that Radiohead had announced a European tour, I bought tickets straight away over the internet and then the day after they announced some UK dates! Annoying at the time yes, but having now been to Holland and seen the show I am glad I made the extra effort. Also I am extremely glad I don’t live in America after the queues and the $2,500 tickets.
At Goffert Park, Nijmegen, support was from Sigur Ros, a very strange but beautiful band. The lead guitarist uses a violin bow to create fantastic sounds from his guitar. I had brought the album before going and knew that they were going to be good although I wasn’t sure how a Radiohead audience would take to them. They didn’t do themselves any favours by only playing only one song from the new album and by making all the songs merge into one, but the audience did seem impressed by the sound coming from the bow and guitar method.
Sigur Ros left the stage to a smattering of applause; then we had the torment of the crew setting up for our headliners which seemed to take forever! Eventually on came Radiohead to rapturous applause and cheering. They started with the almighty The National Anthem, the bass line almost bringing the big top down. Paranoid Android, however, was definitely the highlight of the show. Simply fantastic – when the big guitars came out the whole tent lit up with tube lights running up to the top of the big top! This was always my favorite song but seeing it played live was even better!
How to Disappear Completely sounded really fantastic too. And when I thought it couldn’t get any better along came Idioteque – my favorite new song. Having heard the album version of this song I wasn’t sure it would come across live – but it was even better with Phil drumming and Johnny providing extra beats and Thom dancing around like a crazy fool…
The last song before they left the stage the first time was Everything In Its Right Place, another highlight which witnessed Thom leaving the stage while his voice still reverbrated around the tent. The rest of the band then left the stage one by one with Johnny leaving last as he was still playing with Thom’s voice. The crowd knew they would come back on at least once so we didn’t have to cheer to loud to persuade them.
When they came back on to great applause they played Airbag and it was a truly brilliant version which showed even though the new record is more ambient Radiohead still rock. After the song was finished Thom said “We can’t top that – as much as we try we can’t top that”. The second encore track was I Might Be Wrong, a new song which is very good and should definitely be released on an EP or the fifth album. They then left the stage again and this time we didn’t know if they would come back so we cheered very loudly.
When they came back for the second encore, Thom’s keyboard was brought to the front of the stage while Johnny programmed his to harp. They then played a version of Motion Picture Soundtrack. After the song Thom wasn’t happy with the harp so he went over and seemed to be showing Johnny how to play it properly (even though Johnny wrote the harp part…). The last song of the night was Karma Police and they had every person in the tent singing “this is what you get” back to them!
This gig was fabulous. I had been waiting for three years to see them live and after seeing them I can tell you the wait was worth it. I am a diehard Radiohead fan but I can’t see why anyone would not love this show. I love the new album but I also think that it comes across better live – even Idioteque, which you would imagine would be difficult in such a circumstance. Next time they tour, if you get the chance go and see them. It is well worth it.