Just a few days ago I was standing in the same place on the planet as Thom Yorke, Johnny Greenwood, Ed O’Brien, Colin Greenwood, and Phil Selway. You might know them better as Radiohead. You know, that band that wrote that song “Creep” you play along with on Guitar Hero or Rock Band or whatever it is you kids play today because you can’t figure out how to play a real guitar so you play with flimsy plastic toys instead.
Yes, I got to see Radiohead and you didn’t. You may hate me now.
Or actually you might hate Radiohead now, and that’s okay too because they do have some pretty wanky, “look at how artsy and avant garde we are” songs that make me want to throttle Thom Yorke only I’d feel really bad afterwards because he’s a tiny, tiny person and could probably be beaten up by children.
But, come on. Fucking Radiohead, man. In Noblesville, Indiana of all places.
And the show was something close to glorious. The all-encompassing sound. The lights with the huge suspended tubes hanging from the ceilings. The video screen behind them that Thom Yorke used to comical effect. The enthusiastic yet respectful crowd that loved them even though they didn’t play “Creep.” (And probably never will if you know anything about Radiohead.)
In fact, they mostly played In Rainbows. And I didn’t even care because I like In Rainbows. That’s the difference in a band like Radiohead and Pearl Jam. I listened to the last Pearl Jam album one time and never listened to it again. I’ve listened to In Rainbows repeatedly. Granted, I probably wouldn’t have listened to In Rainbows if they hadn’t given it away for free (or whatever you wanted to pay for it) prior to its physical release on CD. Mostly because Hail to the Thief was a pretty boring album. But also because I don't like paying for music.
But they came back from an irrelevant album and made one that’s relevant. And also a very clever marketing scheme to get In Rainbows to debut at number one on the US sales charts. Of course, it wouldn’t really matter if it wasn’t full of good songs, which it is, in this not so humble critic’s opinion. I really love the song “Reckoner” and I’m not sure why.
It was sublime to hear it live.
And they played “Street Spirit (Fade Out).” That’s one of my favorite Radiohead songs from my favorite album The Bends, which I also consider one of the best albums of the nineties. They also played a very loosey-goosey version of “Just.”
For the fans of the more popular Radiohead songs, they played “Karma Police,” but I really wish they would have played “Paranoid Android” instead. Not because I don’t like “Karma Police” but only because I like “Paranoid Android” better, as it wasn’t overplayed due to its length and general difficulty. “What’s thaaaaaaaaaaaat?”
In fact, the show was so good that I wasn’t even angry about the eight dollar slices of pizza, ten dollar beers, and forty dollar concert t-shirts that I didn’t buy. Although I would have really liked to have the one that said “I’m Trapped Inside This Body And Can’t Get Out.” Nor was I angry about the 106 dollars I had to pay for two tickets or the 43 dollars worth of Ticketmaster surcharges. Okay, I’ll admit still being bitter about the surcharges which could have nearly bought another ticket. (Albeit a lawn ticket after the surcharges.)
I did buy myself and Shauna a couple of the ten dollar tour posters, which was probably just sheer consumerism on my part since I have a couple of other tour posters from other bands that I’ve never framed and hung anywhere. They sit rolled up in a closet somewhere. But this one is Radiohead so maybe it’ll end up on one of my walls as a memento of this place and time. (Now that I think about it I should really hang the Silversun Pickups poster from last year that I got signed by the entire band and the singer drew a penis on it to show how much he loved me.)
I think the thing that really surprised me the most about the concert was the fact that there were no drunken annoying people around me yelling out song titles, heckling the band, or just being generally annoying. I don't know why I find that surprising though since it's Radiohead and they don't really attract the jock factor that most rock bands do, mainly because if you have an IQ lower than 120 you just don't understand any of their songs. In fact, the row I was in barely had any people at all, which was odd considering the entire lawn was filled to capacity, as were most of the seats, except in our section which was almost dead center. The only thing that invaded my space the whole show was the smell of some super hydro skunk bud which I noticed was coming from a fifty or sixty something balding upper middle class guy directly behind me. Not really the person you expect to see when you look around to see where the smell is coming from. It smelled so great I nearly spoke to a stranger to say, “Take me to your dealer.”
Other than the Indiana state police pulling out and following me for several miles on Interstate 70 and then nearly running out of gas because there were no gas stations, it was pretty much a perfect day.
I wish you could have been there, but since you weren’t here are some pictures from the show that I didn’t take because I’m too lazy.
I don’t really need pictures. It’s all in my head.