ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
SkyDome, Toronto, ON
Oct. 15, 2003
If you've never seen Radiohead live, then you probably shouldn't
talk about live music. You simply aren't qualified. It would
be like a food critic who's never tasted food.
Radiohead is lauded by a large part of the media as being
the best band in the world; last week they showed us why. Even
in a venue as unfortunate as the SkyDome, Radiohead had the
massive audience electrified. 18,000 people twitching sporadically
to "Like Spinning Plates" is an unusual sight that
probably only Radiohead is capable of causing.
Their two-hour set was comprised largely of tracks from Hail
to the Thief, their current LP, along with a few songs from
each of their last efforts (with the exception of Pablo Honey).
The songs were accompanied by an impressive light show used
with great effects throughout.
Highlights included "There There," with Colin and
Johnny Greenwood's savagely beating huge tribal drums with
long mallets, a blistering rendition of "My Iron Lung," the
loud/soft transitions hugely emphasized and a haunting version
of "Climbing Up The Walls." Johnny's brilliant guitar
playing sounded like something from outer space, with unbelievably
improvised solos in many of the songs. When they played the
first few chords of "Karma Police" during the second
encore, the crowd literally went wild, like animals rooting
through the bush.
Many people are hung up on Radiohead's Bends/OK Computer era
songs -they're catchy and easily digestible. But their Kid
A/Amnesiac/Hail to the Thief tunes are like what the robot
servant on The Jetsons must have listened to -they're on a
completely different level than anything else. The new material
might not be as easy to swallow, but to see it played live
with the intensity and musicianship Radiohead possesses makes
for a killer show.