Thursday, May 15, 2008

Radiohead at the Ford Amphitheater, 05-06-08

First post at the new place! It's all so new and exciting. I think the tale of my Radiohead show is a pretty good inaugural post. Click on the pictures if you want to see them bigger and shinier. (Eventually I'll have a proper introductory post all about Who I Am, but frankly, this is way more interesting.)

I'll get this out of the way now: I am not the hugest Radiohead fan. I realize that to many people this is on par with saying I am not the hugest fan of religion (incidentally...) but Philip plays their discography on a near-daily basis, and I've become rather intrigued. Also, in case you hadn't noticed, they might be the biggest band in the world right now. For example: they sold out the Ford Amphitheater. Every seat was taken, every patch of grass on the lawn occupied.

And where were we? I dunno, how about THE SECOND ROW? Nearly dead center, too. There were rows of seats set up in the area where the pit usually is, which was a rather strange experience. Unfortunately, because this was a sold-out show and all 20,000 people were arriving at more or less the same time, we got in pretty late and only caught two songs from the opening band, Liars. I don't have any pictures of them because Philip and I spent those two songs getting the settings on the camera just right, but their music certainly wasn't bad. The lead singer flailed around a lot and put his microphone down his pants to free up his hands for better flailing. (I think that particular move is copyrighted by the guy in MSI. Truefact (supposedly): at Bamboozle, MSI were doing a signing near where The Rocket Summer were playing and got so annoyed that they left the signing early. Because that is how awful The Rocket Summer are. xD I digress.)

There was an agonizingly long setup time for Radiohead, but they had a pretty darned good reason for it. I would never, ever want to be a roadie for them, geez. But when the setup was finally complete, the entire stage was transformed into what can really only be described as a chandelier. This was impressive before they even turned the lights on, mind you, because that stage is huge! (I was up there once. It's massive.)

They opened with one of my favorites, a slower track from the new CDs, "All I Need," and here is what it looked like.

Yeah, that's as far as I could zoom out--I didn't get a single shot of the entire band, lol. In my ignorance I can't really tell you all the band members' names, but the lead singer is Thom Yorke, and he is a small, crazy-eyed British man with funny hair.

See that screen in the background? It wasn't a projection, it was digital. That is some serious business right there. I liked how they used it, too; it wasn't random stock images or just boring shots of the band as they played, it was all cut very smoothly (and there were no conspicuous cameras) and there were a lot of really inventive angles, my favorite of which will be discussed later.

Uh, so I could probably name about 7 of the songs they played if you asked me to do so without cheating, so here is a setlist from a more dedicated fan than me:

1. All I Need
2. There There
3. Lucky
4. Bangers and Mash
5. 15 Step
6. Nude
7. Pyramid Song
8. Optimistic
9. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
10. National Anthem
11. Idioteque
12. You And Whose Army?
13. Reckoner
14. Everything In Its Right Place
15. Airbag
16. Bodysnatchers
17. Videotape


18. The Gloaming
19. The Tourist
20. Just
21. Faust Arp
22. Exit Music (for a film)

Encore 2:

23. The Bends
24. House of Cards

Yeah, really. The cool thing was, even as a casual fan I was plenty entertained throughout the whole set. But really, check out this stage:

There were instrument changes after nearly every song, and Thom even got his own mini drum kit for "Bangers and Mash," how appropriate. I wasn't expecting much crowd interaction during this show, but he had a couple of good lines. Before he started this song, he joked that "Now you're going to hear some good drumming," with a grin directed towards his real drummer.

Right after that was "15 Step," and you know what the really nice thing about seats is? (Well, no one was actually sitting down, mind you) Perfect video quality. You can get lucky at a show with a pit and snap some good shots in between crowdsurfers, but you sure as heck can't take a video like this. And thanks to YouTube's new features, you can click the little "watch in high quality" and get a whole new 4"x4" video experience! Shiny! Here, have more pictures.

Oh, wait, I lied, this one is a shot of the whole band!

This would have been a perfect experience if not for the STUPID DRUNK GIRL directly behind us. Next time, I hope her patron either pays less money for farther seats or more money for a nicer ho, because she was pretty awful. She managed to more or less ruin my video of "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi," but you can watch it anyway as an example of what NOT to do at a concert! Geez. That aside, the rest of the crowd was a really interesting mix of people. The front section seemed to be split between the die-hards (Philip sold our tickets to one guy who was doing every date on the East Coast) and rich people who were even less familiar with the band than I was. There was quite the huge age difference--and not in the 12 year old/22 year old Fall Out Boy way either.

What was really impressive to me was how they managed to do so many different things with the lights, such as making it look like rain:

Or my favorite, a starry sky:

The light show is probably best exemplified in this video of National Anthem, and don't worry, it's hardly the most seizure-inducing video I've posted. :P The other cool thing about this song? The guitarist on the right side of the stage actually spent a good part of it fiddling about with a radio. Appropriate, right? (There were so many strange and wonderful distortion devices in this show that Matt Bellamy's nifty guitar almost paled in comparison.) This guitarist also played his guitar with a violin bow at one point, I love when people do that.

The one thing Mr. Bellamy really has going for him is his shiny, shiny piano, but this piano had an interesting twist too: there was a little camera right in the front that Thom could use to give us uh, extreme closeups of his face, haha. Not exactly necessary for us in the second row, but he did dedicate the song ("You and Whose Army?") to "The people on the hill." HE'S WATCHING YOU

As the song progressed, the shot split across the screens, and this is probably an all-time favorite concert picture here:

Speaking of all-time favorites, I don't really have a favorite Radiohead song (and if I did it would be horribly cliche and they'd never play it anyway no it's not "My Iron Lung" shut up) but Philip's is Idioteque, which I have great fun making up words to when he plays it at home. It's open to interpretation, I think. I really don't remember which song this was during, but here's the other keyboard Thom played:

And I'm not sure what's going on here, Thom looks confused and the bassist looks somewhat horrified, lol.


If you looked at the setlist, you can see that they did not one but TWO encores (take THAT, Jesse Lacey), and the highlight was definitely when they played The Bends, which was especially exciting because they hadn't played it the night before. (This was only the second stop on the tour, no one really knew what the setlists were going to be like) Last picture spam, I promise.

This is another favorite shot. Love, love the lighting. Shots like this make me want to actually learn something about photography.

The last song of the night (a 7-song encore is a new record for sure) was a mellow farewell in the form of "House of Cards," then it was time to take a bow and say goodnight.

And um, I'm seeing them again at Lollapalooza and All Points West in August. I kind of can't believe it.

Amusingly, I ran into two of my favorite boys from two of my favorite local Orlando bands (Kevin and Joey from Mirror Pal and Baron Von Bear, respectively) after the show, and I am feeling a deep conflict in my soul because Kevin's show is the same night (May 31st) in Orlando that Baron Von Bear and Band Marino are playing in Gainesville. D: I am seriously at a loss here because while I definitely need to see Band Marino at 7th time (really) and NOT drive another 200 miles, I have been personally invited to Kevin's show and Parachute Musical are gonna be there and I love them and does anyone know how to be in two places at once? Let me know.

In conclusion, Radiohead are pretty well-deserving of their status right now. PS: I have about a million more pictures in my Photobucket if you're interested. Also, I don't mind if you do, but it'd be nice to give me a heads-up if you're posting the pics elsewhere/linking this post anywhere.

Monday, May 12, 2008


oh hay did it work