posted on March 11, 2012 16:02
I was not sure what to expect from Radiohead as I made my way to Scottrade Center on Friday night to catch the British synth-rock band from Oxfordshire, England. The band made a stop in St. Louis for the first time since 2008 for a long sold out engagement as part of their “The King of Limbs” World Tour. The crowd was most certainly ready as the place was filled to the rafters and the floor was a sea of humanity most ready to rock. This band was somewhat of a mystery to me going into the show. Beyond a couple singles that I was familiar with, I was somewhat in the dark as to what front man Thom Yorke and his mates had in store. I was quickly made aware that a Radiohead show is musical and visual assault on the senses and something completely different than I was expecting. In a good way.
As the house lights went black, the band took the stage to huge applause. Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Ed O'Brien, Phil Selway greeted the raucous crowd first followed closely by Thom Yorke. The stage was set with a large LDC wall behind and above the band and hanging, rotating LCD screens as the ambient sounds of “Bloom” kicked off the 23 song, 2 hour set. The set list, which Radiohead varies from night to night, was a nice mix of older tunes pulled from Radiohead’s classic catalog and heavy on material from the bands most recent release “The King of Limbs”. The deep and rhythmic drumming of “15 Step” and the funky groove of “Morning Mr. Magpie” highlighted the early part of the set. It struck me that Thom Yorke was nothing that I expected in this live show. He was a man that seemed to be possessed by music and having a much fun as anyone in the house yelling “It’s Friday night in St. Louie!!!” to his adoring flock.
As the set moved on, Yorke took his seat behind the piano for simple and fantastic versions of “Videotape” and “The Daily Mail” that had the crowd hanging on each note with anticipation. Yorke said simply, “This is for those of you down in back and up with the gods. Thanks for turning up”. The sexy vibe of “The Amazing Sounds of Orgy” and the Radiohead hit “Karma Police” were also mid-set highlights. Yorke even forgot the words during Karma Police at one point singing ‘"this is what you get when you forget the words to the song”. Afterwards, he quipped “No one knows this, right?” But, alas, he and his band could do no wrong on this night.
As the main set moved to its conclusion, the band was FAR from done. A huge tribal beat during “There, There” saw Scottrade Center bathed in blue light only to explode into red as the crowd reached a near fever pitch. It was surely a highlight of the night and one hell of a groovy tune. The high and tight sound of “Reckoner” closed out the main set and the band exited the stage to an unbelievable ovation. After witnessing a 75 minute set, I was thinking, I think I know now what all the buzz is about. And they had not even played the encore yet.
The band returned to the stage a short time later to huge applause and kicked off the first of 2, three song encores. A fantastic version of “Separator” kicked things off with a great vibe. The bluesy beat of “Lucky” shined through and made its tour debut much to the delight of the 15,000 in attendance. A fantastic version of “Everything In Its Right Place” received the biggest cheers of the night and closed out the first encore as the band once again left the stage to an even bigger ovation than the first.
Thom Yorke and guitarist Jonny Greenwood returned a short time later with an absolutely phenomenal version of “Give Up the Ghost” that you could almost feel the emotion dripping from the ceiling. A truly great moment and what a live show is supposed to deliver. An escape in music. “You and Whose Army” was next as Yorke took to the piano one more time for the evening and had the full crowd in his grasp leading them in a sing-along note for note. With the first few notes of the final song of the evening, “Idioteque”, the place nearly went berserk. This high octane song was the perfect ending to quite a night and quite a set that Radiohead fans were sure to enjoy.
I walked away from the show with this thought: For 2 hours, I sat and watched one of the largest bands in the world and became more of a fan with each passing song as they seemed to one up themselves with each note. This group, who will headline some of the largest festivals in the world including Coachella and Bonnaroo in the coming months, truly connect to their fans via the music they bring and their electric live performance. This band also cannot be lumped in one single category. You can hear blues, hip-hop, trance, electronic, dub-step, rock and more all in one set. They bring such an eclectic mix of sounds to the table that it is quite interesting to listen to the music they create.
I would HIGHLY suggest checking this band out if you have not had a chance, it is truly an “experience” that you won’t soon forget. You never know what you may be missing in the world of music. Sometimes a misconception can lead you to miss something great that was right under your nose the whole time. Radiohead opened my eyes to that fact on Friday night. Now, everything is indeed in its right place.
Check out more from Radiohead on their website HERE.
Photos courtesy: Concert Creep - Check out more pics from the show HERE.
SETLIST – Radiohead @ Scottrade Center 3/9/12
Little by Little
Morning Mr. Magpie
The Daily Mail
The Amazing Sounds of Orgy
Everything In Its Right Place (w/ Electrolite intro)
Give Up the Ghost
You and Whose Army?
Check out past interviews and reviews in the archive by clicking HERE.
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