The year I finally saw Radiohead and ...
December 9, 2018
I do not attend many concerts. Up until this year, I had attended only two concerts since I turned thirty and I turn forty-two this month. This year though, I doubled that number and both concerts were wonderful.
Since the nineties, Radiohead has retained a spot on my preferred playlist. I can’t say I was into them from the beginning though. Pablo Honey really didn’t connect with me nor did it’s hit single Creep. But once The Bends came out, I was a fan. Ok Computer with its more electronic influence made me a bigger fan and Kid A with its even more electronics, made Radiohead my favorite group. In 2006, Thom Yorke started his solo career with The Eraser, a full-on electronic record. Since then, Radiohead has released three more LPs with A Moon Shaped Pool being the most recent release in 2017. At that time, Yorke has one more solo LP, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes which was released in 2014. He also released the album Amok with his other band Atoms for Peace, which I highly recommend.
For some reason, I dragged my feet getting tickets to see my favorite band. In the early 2000s, I think it was because I assumed I would see them sooner or later. As time went on though, it was because they didn’t tour as often, they didn’t visit a city near me, or tickets were just so hard to get. That’s how it was for The Moon Shaped Pool tour and when I couldn’t get tickets, I figured it would be years until I had a chance to get tickets again. Fortunately, I was wrong.
This year I was able to get tickets to one of Radiohead’s shows in Boston at the TD Garden. Hands down the best concert I’ve ever attended. They played songs such as Fake Plastic Trees, Street Spirit (Fade Out), Idioteque, Exit Music (for a Film), The National Anthem, and closed with Karma Police. Here is the setlist. Radiohead is a famously great live band, so it came as no surprise that hearing those songs live was as great as I had hoped. What did surprise me came a few weeks later.
Like I mentioned before, Thom Yorke released his last solo album Tomorrow's Modern Boxes in 2014. It seems he never toured the album because a few weeks after I saw Radiohead, Yorke announced he was going on a solo tour to support that album and to my surprise, I was able to get two pre-sale tickets for his Boston show at the Wang Theatre.
When the day arrived, my wife and I put in our earplugs (as everyone who wants to retain their hearing should do) and enjoyed the work of a true artist. Actually three artists. Thom was joined by his long time producer Nigel Godrich but also audiovisual artist Tarik Barri. Barri manipulated the animated stage background in real-time, syncing the colorful forms with the music. The combination of beautiful visuals, great electronic beats, and Yorke’s perfect vocals was mesmerizing. A great show and if you have a chance to see Yorke perform his solo work, you will not be disappointed. Check out the setlist. Along with songs from The Eraser, TMB, and Amok, there were a few yet-to-be-released songs such as The Axe and Two Feet Off the Ground. If they end up on his next album, those songs will be on my repeat for weeks.
So 2018 was the year I finally saw Radiohead. Although I would have loved to have seen them sooner, the wait was definitely worth it. The Thom Yorke concert was a great surprise and if either opportunity arises again, I’ll be there.