Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Live - in pictures and video: Radiohead at The O2, London 8/10/2012

In a night potentially full of surprises, the first was that the ticketless system designed to foil the touts wasn't actually as laborious as it might have been, and 40 minutes after leaving the tube we were inside the arena.
Caribou on stage at The O2
Caribou were first, arriving bang on 7.30 and launching straight into what sounded like a new track. They followed this with a selection of highlights from 'Swim' which gradually pulled in more of the audience, finishing with a storming version of 'Sun'.

As they cleared the stage the questions began to be asked - what would Radiohead start with? Would they play anything brand new? What about Paranoid Android? For the answers to those see the set list below, but they came out of the blocks powerfully and managed to keep the energy level high all night.

Radiohead live at The O2
Another question formed - how and why had they cloned Phil Selway? The doppelgänger didn't seem to add much to the sound when he was onstage and it seemed to add a slight awkwardness to the stage set up. Meanwhile Radiohead continued to work their way through a set that seemed designed to keem them interested as much as us.

Radiohead live 8/10/12
Highlights? The fantastic stage set, with moving screens creating a constantly moving scene. New song 'Identikit', which was full of melody and hooks. The brilliant version of 'Give Up The Ghost' performed just by Thom and Jonny, as Thom's vocals were looped and built up into a choir of his own voice. The way 'Staircase', 'Feral' and 'Bloom' worked live, along with great versions of 'Myxomatosis' and 'Weird Fishes'. And Thom singing R.E.M's 'The One I Love' before starting 'Everything...'

Lowlights? 'Climbing Up The Walls', which for its first half seemed ill at ease and a bit out of tune. The way 'These Are My Wicked Words' really didn't work live. The lack of any songs at all from 'The Bends'. And a nagging feeling that something was missing, that there was no emotional engagement with the audience.

Don't get me wrong, it was really good, as Radiohead shows always will be. But maybe, now that Thom's got a certain swagger rather than his old timidness, and now that the band are driven by a desire to constantly explore and make music that keeps evolving, maybe it'll never be quite like it was.

Radiohead played:

  • Lotus Flower
  • 15 Step
  • Bloom
  • Kid A
  • The Daily Mail
  • Myxomatosis
  • Climbing Up The Walls
  • The Gloaming
  • Separator
  • These Are My Twisted Words
  • Like Spinning Plates
  • Nude
  • Identikit 
  • Karma Police
  • Feral
  • Idioteque
  • Pyramid Song
  • Staircase
  • Morning Mr Magpie
  • Weird Fishes / Arpeggi
  • Reckoner
  • Give Up The Ghost
  • There There
  • Everything In Its Right Place

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