Friday 19 October 2012

Radiohead Redefine Standard Once More

If there's one band who has been pushing boundaries and keeps reinventing itself it has to be Radiohead. The band from Oxfordshire released The King Of Limbs already 1,5 years ago, but decided to wait a bit longer before visiting our small country. After radically changing musical direction a few times before, this album may have been hard on many a fan. I actually quite like it despite many critics calling it one of their less good records. And I was sure they would play many songs of it.

Radiohead at Ziggo Dome Amsterdam, October 14 2012
Unfortunately we end up late at the venue and have to miss Caribou who played first. We can find a spot somewhere halfway the field. Last time at the Pearl Jam concert we had seated tickets, so this is the first time that I'm in the field at this brand new venue. One thing is clear right away: the stage isn't high enough. Although I'm quite a tall person, I have to try my best to see the top of the stage. Throughout the concert I can only see the musicians from their knees up. A smaller person will have a hard time seeing anything at all.

When the show takes off, it's greeted with loud cheers. Fortunately there's plenty to see besides the band on the stage. A large video-wall with thousands of lights is showing abstract visuals, while twelve square flat screens are lowered from the ceiling. These panels can be moved in any direction, so that they will change position with every song. On top of the stage there are six more square screens. Small cameras make sure that every band member is showing in one of those screens. The twelve screens sometimes are working as a ceiling, other times creating a surreal image, like autumn leaves scattered around, frozen in time. Once again Radiohead have managed to create a stunning light show and visuals. A job well done by stage designer Andi Watson.

It combines perfectly with the music that is surreal itself from time to time. Kicking off with 'Bloom' of the new record, we get treated to a fine selection of songs. Many tracks of The King Of Limbs and from the older albums especially OK Computer and Hail To The Thief are well represented. Pablo Honey and The Bends are completely ignored. The band has added Portishead drummer Clive Deamer to team up with Phil Selway. This is a wise choice, since the complex rythms of the last couple of albums are impossible to play with just one drummer. Instead of using even more sequencers and samples, the two drummers are doing a great job playing the tough jazzy and breakbeat grooves.

The electronic sounds of the past years translate very well to this live environment. Together with the spectacular visuals, they seem to show us what's going on inside singer Thom Yorke. It's like he's showing us the inside of his brain, the images and music he's experiencing when he wrote the songs. Yorke himself has transformed into a confident front man. Moving around stage in his own, sometimes freaky way, submitting himself to the music, seemingly unaware of 15,000 persons watching him. As if he's just enjoying himself in his own living room. Guitarist Jonny Greenwood is even more involved in his own world. The two are left on stage by themselves for 'Give Up The Ghost' where Yorke is looping his voice on the spot to create his own backing vocals.

Twenty-four songs in total are played including the new song 'Ful Stop' and 'Supercollider'. 'A Wolf At The Door' even made it onto the setlist. In the third encore we get treated to a wild version of 'Idioteque' and then it's over. I'm left stunned, wondering what I've just experienced. Even now it's hard to describe. This was so much more than just a music concert. This was a total experience of the senses. Once again Radiohead have pushed the boundaries of the music world a bit further.

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01 Bloom
02 Lucky
03 15 Step
04 Kid A
05 Myxomatosis
06 The Gloaming
07 Separator
08 Reckoner
09 You and whose army?
10 Nude
11 Ful Stop
12 Lotus Flower
12 There There
14 Karma Police
15 Feral
16 Paranoid Android
Encore 1
17 Give Up The Ghost
18 Supercollider
19 Morning Mr Magpie
20 A Wolf At The Door
21 Bodysnatchers
Encore 2
22 How to disappear completely
23 Everything In Its Right Place (with 'Unravel'Bjork intro)
Encore 3
24 Idioteque


  1. Top omschrijving! Helemaal mee eens. En grappig het was ook mijn tweede keer Ziggo Dome en de eerste keer ook Pearl Jam, met zitplaatsten. Staanplaatsen is echt veel beter. De akoestiek is erg goed in de zaal. Oordoppen heb je eigenlijk niet nodig. Radiohead was fantastisch!

  2. Dat is inderdaad wel toevallig. Ben eigenlijk wel blij met de Ziggo Dome. Geluid is dik in orde voor zo'n grote zaal en het voelt ondanks de grootte niet massaal aan. Een stuk beter in ieder geval dan rampzalen als Ahoy en Gelredome.