Sunday, 11 November 2012

Gig Review - Radiohead (09/11/2012)

RADIOHEAD (09/11/2012)
Live at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Review by Jo Michelmore

One of my favourite lyrics of all time is very simple and comes from a Radiohead song; “no alarms and no surprises, please”. A plead of simplicity, some days it’s a mantra for me, but after the gig I saw on Friday night, I’m slowly learning the lesson that some surprises aren’t always a bad thing, some surprises are truly amazing.

I wasn’t sure what I would see at a Radiohead gig in 2012. Having seen them in Sydney in 2004 I thought I knew what to expect, an amazing journey of sound but not so much actual entertainment, something I would be impressed with but not necessarily excited about. This is where the lesson of surprise comes into play.
Frontman Thom Yorke bounds onto the stage in a way I totally didn’t expect, full of energy and not the subdued, introverted singer I have come to assume he is during their long career. Launching into ‘Lotus Flower’ and ‘Bloom’ from their latest album King Of Limbs I thought this might be a show full of new material, a band who might deny their history, but I tried to reserve judgement and was pleasantly rewarded with over two hours of Radiohead from every era, an absolute delight to see and hear. Guitarist Ed O’Brien does his fair share of mad dancing and Johnny Greenwood is also mesmerising, but it’s Thom who remains an enigmatic lead throughout their set, from dancing in awkward and adorable ways during ‘The Gloaming’ to simply sitting still at the piano during ‘The Daily Mail’, I can’t keep my eyes from him. He doesn’t talk much to the crowd, but what he does say is applauded and appreciated “What? You want more? Thank fuck for that” and “Free Tibet, it’s just down the road”; like so many Radiohead lyrics, he seems to choose his words wisely, communicating only what needs to be said at the right time in the right way.

There is something for every fan during the slightly more than two hour set; ‘Reckoner’ from In Rainbows is phenomenal, ‘Paranoid Android’ from OK Computer is a surprising inclusion and everything as fresh and new as it has been for the past fifteen years, ‘Myxamatosis’ from Hail To The Thief is breathtaking, ‘Pyramid Song’ from Amnesiac is spine tingling. In the seconds between being mesmerised by the music, the stage and light show is amazing, twelve moving screens suspended above the stage showing various band members and images while a wall of coloured light behind matches every song perfectly; of course ‘Climbing Up The Walls’ is green, of course ‘Bodysnatchers’ is purple, of course ‘The National Anthem’ is red and blue. They prove their appreciation of technology by flashing QR codes on screens above the stage which rewards fans able to scan them, with clips from the gig (although I can’t imagine anyone in the venue who wasn’t completely transfixed with the experience to bother).

My favourite surprise from the gig was the amount of encores given, three in total and the songs chosen for those encores were beyond perfect. A lifelong dream fulfilled in seeing ‘Street Spirit (Fade Out)’ played live, I hope I will never forget the sounds of those words "immerse your soul in love" and the actual tears they induced. The final songs, a Bjork cover ‘Unravel’ which morphs into ‘Everything In It’s Right Place’ and then ‘Idioteque’ give me the feeling that keeps me addicted to live music, the goosebumps I keep coming back for time and time again.

It seems Radiohead have returned to the top of the list of some of my favourite bands of all time, which is not something I expected to happen after Friday night. That I suppose is the magic of live music, the smallest of gigs and the largest of gigs can be everything you expect or can be a complete and total surprise. With their set on Friday night, Radiohead welcomed me back into their enchanting world, a world of beautiful lyrics and spine tingling sounds and it was a surprise invitation I am more than happy to accept. No alarms and no surprises? Some days yes, but thankfully not last Friday. Thank you Radiohead, that gig was one of the most pleasant surprises in a long time.

1 comment:

  1. Give Up the Ghost was one of the most incredible examples of live looping I have ever heard. It was so incredibly engulfing, I never wanted it to end! The show was as impressive as I expected, but I never could have predicted how the music could have transported me the way it did. I was in Radiohead Realm for those 2 hours, and I never wanted to leave.
    Great review!


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