Sunday 22 May 2016

On Stage: Radiohead @ HMH

Leave it to Radiohead to create a buzz around a new album and accompanying tour. Rumours about a new record had been going around for months and when they cleared their social media accounts it was pretty clear something was about to happen. Still it was quite a surprise when new album A Moon Shaped Pool dropped so soon and their European tour was about to start in a few weeks. Demand for tickets was very high but still I managed to get my hands on them for the opening show in Amsterdam at the W.A.S.T.E. website in the pre sale. Lucky me indeed!

Radiohead at Heineken Music Hall Amsterdam, May 20 2016

Needless to say all eyes are on the Heineken Music Hall tonight for the return of the band that is so big but at the same time doesn't feel like a big stadium act. The choice for this middle size venue that can hold around 5500 people is a good one, since it won't turn into a mass event and even can get quite intimate but still will do justice to the undoubtedly visual and musical spectacle that we’re going to witness tonight. And of course they need the room for all the fans that want to see their favourite band.

The band kicks off with new single and album opener ‘Burn The Witch’ which is instantly followed by a few more songs from the album in the exact same order. By the time we come to realize this and think that they may play the full new album integrally, ‘Morning Mr. Magpie’ follows. Once again the lighting and visuals, although modest, are wonderful and creative without taking the focus away from the music for a bit. The sound is spot on and I'm once again impressed by this band that manages to recreate the complicated and layered songs with such precision. They have chosen for the two drummer line-up again which is so important to be able to play the complex rhythmic structures but at the same time keeps it organic. Thom Yorke’s voice is clear with those almost out of key falsettos that give the songs the tension and emotion that you hear. And so we see the usual faces on stage without a string section as people were speculating because of the lush strings on A Moon Shaped Pool.

The band looks in great shape and there's so much joy on the faces of the musicians. It's clear they are happy to be back on stage and there's plenty of room for joking around and simply having a good time. Still it is the beginning of the tour and not everything runs smoothly. Yorke is even falling out of character when he gets the giggles. Smirking faces when things almost fail or someone actually does mess up, although nothing really serious. When the technique fails on them a few times, the band doesn't lose their cool but simply keeps on playing. Even when Jonny Greenwood’s guitar problems seem to take longer to get fixed, Yorke says they will start the song anyway and he can join whenever he feels like it. This band has seen it all and doesn't even blink when these things happen.

Radiohead is a one of a kind band and you know every show is unique. Simply because every setlist is unique and will hold a few rare gems, for example ‘Iron Lung’ tonight that didn't make a setlist for a long time. Many fans will even go a few nights in a row and experience a different show every time, that are hard to compare. Haters are gonna hate, but Radiohead remains a unique experience that surprises and grabs you every time. Maybe tonight’s show wasn’t perfect but it was certainly good to see this band return to the stage.

All Pictures

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01. Burn the Witch
02. Daydreaming
03. Decks Dark
04. Desert Island Disk
05. Ful Stop
06. Morning Mr. Magpie
07. There There
08. The Daily Mail
09. My Iron Lung
10. Videotape
11. Identikit
12. The Numbers
13. The Gloaming
14. Lotus Flower
15. Everything in Its Right Place
16. Idioteque
17. Bodysnatchers
18. Bloom
19. Present Tense
20. Paranoid Android
21. Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief
22. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
Encore 2:
23. You and Whose Army?
24. Reckoner

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