A long time ago, before many a Logger had even applied to college, a band called Radiohead graced the state of Washington with a visit during their In Rainbows tour.
On April 9, almost four years later, the band came back to Washington, this time performing in Seattle proper for the first time in their career (other performances were in nearby Auburn).
The concert opened with a band called Other Lives who sounded something like Mumford and Sons attempting to cover OK Computer—not bad, but nothing extremely exciting. The audience was there to see one band and one band only: Radiohead.
Luckily Radiohead quickly came on stage and opened with “Bloom,” a song from their 2011 album The King of Limbs. Because of the heavily percussive nature of the album Radiohead hired Clive Deamer, the drummer of Portishead, to perform alongside regular Radiohead drummer Phil Selway throughout the concert.
Joining the drummer duo for “Bloom” was Jonny Greenwood, guitarist and mastermind behind Radiohead’s utterly unique sound, creating a three-drummer lineup of massive proportions.
Behind the band was a massive wall of LED-lights, perhaps twenty feet tall, which projected a variety of ambient animations throughout the show and was reminiscent of other high-end tours like Nine Inch Nails’ Lights In The Sky. Tiny cameras mounted around the band focused on the individual members and projected onto small screens which would change positions throughout the concert to emphasize a particular light-scheme or mood. On either side of the stage were large LED tubes which changed color to match the screen.
The set list was fairly tame by Radiohead standards, including “hits” like “Everything In Its Right Place,” “Idioteque,” “There There,” “15 Step,” “Lotus Flower” and “Reckoner,” as well as some lesser-known tunes (“These Are My Twisted Words,” “Mixomatosis,” “How To Disappear Completely”) and two brand-new songs, “The Daily Mail” and “Identikit.”
One of the highlights of the show was when the band performed “You And Whose Army?”, which began with Thom Yorke singing and playing solo piano while making weird Thom faces into an extremely close fisheye camera which projected between all twelve of the moving screens in black and white. When the full band came in for the climax of the piece the screens scattered and an overwhelming red projected out behind them.
Having been fortunate enough to catch Radiohead on their In Rainbows tour in 2008, I was worried this time around that the band might not meet my (very high) expectations. However, from the time they took the stage I and thousands of others were entirely captivated, and two hours and 23 songs later I am happy to say my fears were unfounded.