Radiohead Concert: Five out of Five

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I thought I was going to be a Radiohead widow on Tango Tuesday. Kirmann had managed to get a ticket for PJ, but there was no joy for me. At the last possible minute, Mitlepunkt came through with a dodgey eBay purchase.

“Go to ‘We Will Rock You’ and call this number,” he says. So, we go to the place and call the number, and the guy says “I’ll be down in 5 minutes.” Five minutes later, an Indian bloke dressed like an off duty investment banker comes down and hands us the tickets. Then he disappears into the crowd.

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We walked from Mile End to Victoria Park…all 15,000 of us. Saw this nice little church along the way. Arriving at Victoria Park, the police were out in force herding us through with British queuing efficiency.

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Then we were in the park. Kirmann was on the phone constantly before the concert. Claire is pregnant, and she could pop at any minute. Mitlepunkt had worn shorts and a shirt and was freezing his ass off, but he was soon distracted by the sausages. It was a festival atmosphere. Food stalls, beers, people lounging on their blankets with coffee and wine and spliffs.

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I have to say, going back to the food: it was gross and expensive. PJ couldn’t finish his sweet and sour. The smart people were the ones who had brought a picnic. Gates opened at 4 p.m., and it had been glorious weather. Almost like they had planned it like this so near the summer solstice.

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The light show started early…before dark, and people started to get up and excited with anticipation.

Then, there they were. I remember Thom saying: “what’s going on with you mad people down here?” His rapport is lovely…like a bloke who’s playing a gig for his mates in his back garden: quiet and shy…but funny.

The dredlocked girl standing next to me lit up a spliff, and all was well. I had been working my ass off over the past week or so, and I was tired…nearly too tired to dance, but I put in an effort. A lot of people were talking, and I thought if I danced I might be able to get other people to dance and consequently shut the fuck up and listen to the music. I mean, you paid £40 for the tickets. Shut Up!

A teenager and his parents were in front of us, the dreaded ones to the right and a humping couple to the left…dirty dancing every time a slow song came on. “No humping in public,” I screamed. Mitlepunkt and Ofra and Giza were bringing up the rear.

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The main display was made up of hanging rods with a light show playing against them. It reminded me a bit of Mariko Mori’s Dream Temple. The side panels were divided into four smaller screens with close up on each band member. They were like moving album covers. PJ didn’t like it too much. He wanted to see the band, but we were too far back, and the stage was too low. Didn’t want to get up close because, frankly, I’m too old for that. And, as I said before, I like to dance.

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The sound was amazing. And Thom’s voice is strong like an ox. You don’t get that from the records. You think is voice is so fragile…like it’s gonna break with emotion and pain and anger at any second. But when you hear him live, that emotion surges into a wave that crashes down on you commanding you to move, goddamnit, do something.

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Then, it was over and we started to long trek home. It was nighttime, and we were practically skipping through the park. It felt like what it must have felt like hundreds of years ago after a Bacchanalian romp in the forest. We hit the gates, and it was gridlock with middle class people talking about how the council should do something about this. A car was caught in the sea of people.

We decided to try Bethnal Green station, but it was packed. Went for the bus, but packed. Then walked to Liverpool Street station, where we got the bus back to Covent Garden.

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Thanks Radiohead for the lovely time. Hope to see you again soon.

1 Comment so far

  1. padster on July 13th, 2008 @ 8:28 pm

    Nice – it was a great gig, wasn’t it? I’d give it a 5 out of 5 too. Love their new stuff, and they played a load of it. Warm and almost jazzy (not that I like much jazz – ha!) You didn’t mention the support, Bat for Lashes. Maybe if you don’t know her album it might have washed over you. But she was great too. The new stuff she played in particular sounds amazing.

    But going back to Radiohead – I had a funny moment halfway through: Deep blue cloudless sky, just beginning to darken… airliners and seagulls wheeling through the sky above… local park full of lovely Londoners having a fab time… possibly the best band in the world at the height of their powers playing a blinder. I doesn’t get much better that that.



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