June 21, 2006

Hail to Radiohead June 20, 2006-Chicago Auditorium Theatre

this is a review i found online that's pretty fair.
the show as always was magical. they never cease to amaze me!! (Set list is at the end of the review). They are truly geniuses!!!

I felt like I won the lottery w/ the fact that I tried to buy tickets and did not get them that way…my husband’s old boss is very good friends w/ a woman who happens to be the sister of the band’s manager. Who unbelievably came thru w/ tickets for us and were 5th row center!!!?? As we were walking to the seats I said to phil: “I’m going to throw up!?” (which it took him a moment to realize that was just an expression of excitement!?)

This is about th 9th time i’ve seen them and they still leave me in awe…still get goosebumps during some songs and even got a little choked up during “no surprises”. (I used to pretty my bawl during some songs…).

The Clash used to be known as “the only band that matters,” but at the Auditorium Theatre on Tuesday night it sure felt like the mantle had been passed to Radiohead.

Chicago concert scene regulars were having a tough time remembering when tickets for a rock show were so tight. You’d call the sidewalk around the Auditorium a seller’s market except that no one was selling; there were just several hundred people milling about or lining up down the block and around the corner in desperate hope that tickets for the second of the band’s two sold-out Auditorium shows would magically appear.

This was different from people clamoring to see the Rolling Stones at the Double Door in 1997. There the novelty was that the ultra-rare chance to see a band so huge in a venue so small.

Radiohead is bigger than the Auditorium as well – they no doubt could sell out Soldier Field – but the key lure on this tour was that they’d be devoting much of the set to songs they had yet even to record. Even when the Stones have recorded and released new songs, they’re loath to play more than a few of them for fear of alienating their fans.

Radiohead’s fan base is huge and it desires to be challenged – that’s a combination that
you just don’t find these days. Yes, Wilco fans can make a similar claim, but with apologies to the very talented Jeff Tweedy, Wilco isn’t at Radiohead’s level.

The feeling Tuesday night (and, I’m sure, Monday) was that something important was going to occur inside that theater – the band was going to continue to push the ball forward – and no Radiohead fan wanted to miss it.

As I was watching Tuesday’s show – which was great – I thought about how U2 so masterfully reaches out to arena and stadium crowds. That’s not what Radiohead does. Radiohead still makes the crowd, no matter the size, come to them.

By similar points in their careers, R.E.M. and Talking Heads had transformed their inherent, captivating weirdness into self-conscious showmanship. Radiohead is already nine years removed from the album that got them widely hailed as geniuses – “OK Computer” – yet on stage they appear unshaken from their stubborn exploratory path, one constantly finding new textures and silkier grooves without mining for hits.

The band played seven new songs Tuesday night (compared to nine on Monday night) including one, “All I Need,” that lead singer Thom Yorke introduced by saying, “This is something we sketched out earlier.” He may have meant “earlier today,” because the song doesn’t appear on any of the band’s previous set lists for this tour (which you can peruse here).

It sounded terrific, with drummer Phil Selway punching out a deliberate, insistent beat as Yorke sang in a low register with his one-handed piano playing and Jonny Greenwood’s xylophone plunking conducting a spare dialogue. Other stand-out new songs included the clap-happy “15 Steps,” the razor-sharp “Bangers ‘n’ Mash” (which wound up Yorke doubling Selway's propulsive beat on a drum kit set up near the front of the stage) and the infectiously groovy “Down Is the New Up.”

Trib rock critic Greg Kot does an especially nice job of describing these and other new songs in his review of Monday night’s show.

A 23-year-old guy behind me was also in the audience Monday and at the band’s longer set at the weekend’s Bonnarroo Festival in Tennessee, and he thought the Tuesday show (which clocked in at just under two hours) was the most energetic. It’s certainly hard to imagine the band topping their white-hot performances of “I Might Be Wrong” and “Where I End and You Begin,” which hadn’t been on either of the previous two show’s set lists.

At the same time, while you celebrate the favorites you got to hear (“Airbag,” “Street Spirit”), you also get jealous of the ones that other audiences enjoyed (“There There,” “Lucky”).

That’s the price – and privilege – of seeing a band that would rather mix things up and keep themselves and their audiences on their toes every night rather than just serving up the same tried-and-true. Many of Radiohead’s songs boast such an elusive beauty or sneaky kick that you want to hear them over and over to absorb them.

We can’t do that with these new ones, although live versions of some songs have been floating around the Web – who needs marketing when you’ve got such a computer-savvy fan base?

We’ll probably have to wait till 2007 to hear these songs at full blast again – and who knows which will make the album’s final cut or may be completely rearranged? How can we stand such anticipation?

Better question: Why aren’t more rock bands putting us through such glorious agony?

Here’s Tuesday night’s set list ("n" for new):

“Where I End and You Begin”
“15 Steps” (n)
“Kid A”
“Arpeggi” (n)
“Videotape” (n)
“Climbing Up the Walls”
“Street Spirit (Fade Out)”
“Nude” (n)
“I Might Be Wrong”
“No Surprises”
“All I Need” (n)
“I Want None of This” (Yorke solo on piano)
“The National Anthem”
“Bangers ‘n’ Mash” (n)
“Everything in Its Right Place”

(1st encore)

“My Iron Lung”
“The Bends”
“How To Disappear Completely”

(2nd encore)

“Down Is the New Up” (n)
“The Tourist”


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