Bill Cummings 25/11/2003
Radiohead are the kind of era defining band that transcend mere words or musical boundaries, but ill do my best. Lets be honest in the last eight years no other band has meant so much to so many, whilst constantly experimenting and pushing the boundaries of what it is to be a “alternative rock band.” The Bends was one of the best alternative rock albums of the past ten years, with its swooping melodies and angular guitars. Ok computer documented the coldness of the modern materialistic world we live in the context of some brilliantly experimental musical pieces. Kid A may not have been my cup of tea but it cannot be denied that despite the fact that some of their sonic playfulness led them down a musical few dead ends, it also pushed them further than any other contemporary band around.
The band kick off at the cavernous CIA with "The Gloaming," then into the intricate patterns and vengeful chorus of new single 2+2=5. Thom's lyrics are wilfully obscure but your left in doubt he is a angry man, angry at the war? Afraid of the future? Who knows but this enigmatic song sums up the current emotional uncertainty in the world like no other. Next comes "My Iron Lung" a surprise in terms of a set list top heavy with recent material, its still a stunning beast of a song that baits the pop world. The experimental nature of Radiohead's music, is reinforced by the appearance of songs like "idiotechque" all bleeps and samples, and the circular rhythms of Myxmatosis.
Other highlights include the emotional and searing “Lucky” that soars into the air and collapses upon the chorus of “pull me out of the aircraft/ we are standing on the edge.” Also "How to disappear completely" is simply gorgeous never a favourite of mine before it exhibits Thom's amazing voice, his voice going through you and down into the pit of your stomach, and back out of your mouth. Ending with some stunning crowd participation on Karma Police and the lesser known "We suck young blood" the crowd are transfixed and for that moment in awe of one of the best live bands on the planet. Amazing, the best gig of my year.