Monday, July 17, 2006

It's been far too long since I have posted here, so I'll try to do some updates. This summer has been all about catching up on seeing gigs that I missed while living out east (since I am now living in Toronto). The most memorable shows of the summer so far was seeing Radiohead both nights at the Hummingbird Centre. The first show was on my birthday, which was the greatest gift ever, even though my wife and I were seated in the back row balcony. However, that wasn't a huge problem, since I sat in the front row the next night. Crazy the different perspective you get one night to the next when that happens. heh.
The set list for the June 7th gig is as follows:

01 You and Whose Army
02 The National Anthem
03 Morning Bell
04 15 Step
05 Open Pick
06 Exit Music (for a film)
07 Dollars & Cents
08 Videotape
09 Bodysnatchers
10 There There
11 Street Spirit
12 The Gloaming
13 Bangers 'n Mash
14 Nude
15 Myxomatosis
16 Idioteque
17 How To Disappear Completely
Encore 1
18 Airbag
19 Pyramid Song
20 Arpeggi
21 Lucky
Encore 2
22 4 Minute Warning
23 Everything In Its Right Place

Now I'll admit that I had downloaded a few 2006 shows before seeing them, but never really listened to the new songs accept for Arpeggi, which is great. But I must say, I was really happy to hear the new stuff on the first night, and highlights are Open Pick, Videotape, and Bodysnatchers. Nude, a song that used to be subtitled "Big Ideas (Don't Get Any)" is different now, with some beats to it, and they've tried to make it a bit more uptempo. While the song grew on me over the course of both nights, the original versions that I have from Tokyo (January '98) and San Francisco from '98 musically set a tone that fits with the lyrics. It's a track that deals with that inner battle that one goes through if they are involved in an affair, or just thinking about it. At least that's always been my read on the lyrics. So hearing the more upbeat groove on the new tour just seemed a bit out of place. However, like Motion Picture Soundtrack, which for years was just a gorgeous song with Thom and a guitar morphed into this harp-experimental masterpiece on Kid A. So I'm very interested to see what the final studio version of "Nude" sounds like. I'm just happy to see that a song with such amazing lyrics is possibly being considered for the new album.
On the second night, the closer seats and the more greatest hits-styled set list made it one of the greatest gigs I've ever been to. And I know it will always be the most memorable Radiohead show for me (well, it definitely ranks in the top 3, which is pretty good considering it was my 16th time seeing them). The set list for that show is as follows:

1 The Gloaming
2 Bangers n Mash
3 15 Step
4 2+2=5
5 Kid A
6 Fake Plastic Trees
7 Videotape
8 Arpeggi
9 Idioteque
10 Climbing up the Walls
11 Down is the New Up
12 Karma Police
13 Nude
14 House of Cards
15 Myxomatosis
16 Spooks
17 Paranoid Android
Encore 1
18 You and Whose Army
19 Bodysnatchers
20 Just
21 Let Down
Encore 2
22 There There

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm painfully biased when it comes to this group, and rarely do I criticize them, but there was one song on the second night that was so painfully bad - lyrically, musically, everything, that I couldn't even believe this band would come out and waste 2-3 minutes playing it. It was TERRIBLE. Brutal. I believe it was "House of Cards," but will admit that it's been awhile since I saw the show, so I could be wrong. However, this is a song that no amount of studio work could fix. It was the lyrics that were just bland. It was just cliche rock lyrics that we could hear from anyone, but never from Radiohead. Hopefully they will re-think the song, and just drop it from their minds altogether. :)
Other than that, the show was great, and the brief instrumental Spooks was an amazing addition, made even more memorable by Thom's follow-up comments, "What the hell was that?!" Also, it was the first time I've seen Let Down live. I understood while researching the book that the time signature of the song made it almost impossible to perform live, but the band did an excellent job at pulling it off.
Before I end this post, I should also mentio that Thom Yorke released a solo album this week, The Eraser. As stated, I'm horribly biased when it comes to this band, and that doesn't change with this album. I've seen it getting average ratings, but I think it's a gorgeous album that fans of the band will love. It's definitely not as electronic as early reviews suggested, and it's best taken as offering 9 more reasons why Thom Yorke has one of the best voices in music.
However, I can also accept that most critics will pass on the album, as it's not as musically challenging or earth shattering as most Radiohead albums. And I'd like to direct everyone attention to a very good friend's review of the album. I don't think the album sags at all, nor do I agree with a lot of the points he makes in the review, but he's a great writer, and I respect his opinion.
posted by Jonathan


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