So I went to a Radiohead concert last night (the above picture is not from last night's concert, just a random Radiohead concert photo). Like the Coldplay concert I went to in April, this was driven by David K and, again much like Coldplay, I wasn't too familiar with their work. I listened to a few cuts and said yeah, why not?
The concert was at the Bank of America Pavilion (nee Harborlights) and is a great place to see a concert with a major caveat: the weather had better be nice. While it isn't an outdoor venue, it is, much like Great Woods (oops, The Tweeter Center), exposed on the sides to the elements. Gabrielle and I went to see the Finn Brothers there last summer and it was a beautiful night for a concert. DBK, on the other hand, went earlier in the spring, during our Noah's Ark Simulation Days, and froze his ass off and had to leave early.
I decided to take the T in, as Rhiannon's last U8 soccer practice for the season ended early enough. I drove down to the Wellington station, as the line from there to the closer Oak Grove stop is often down during the late night hours for construction, requiring a bus ride. Turns out it wasn't good enough but more on that later. The trip in was smooth. I almost forgot to change at Downtown Crossing for the Red Line over to South Station, where you pick up the new Silver Line buses. And I happened to meet DBK there as well. So we arrived right at 7:45, the scheduled meeting time, met the friend of his with the tickets and headed on in.
There were lots of signs and searches for digital cameras, but I don't think they were very effective, as there were plenty of them in evidence. But given the proliferation of camera phones (which were regularly popping up during the concert), I don't know why they care about digital images or what they think they can do about them.
A small group opened for them. Willy Mason played guitar, brought on someone to play violin and then a drummer. Interesting short show, as they finished up by about 8:30 or so. But not as good as the guy that opened for the Finn Brothers; Martin Sexton completely blew me away.
Radiohead came on at 9, played until about 10:20, came out for a 20 minute first encore and then a 10 minute second encore (still wondering about those encores...) We had simply amazing seats; quite possibly, the best seats I've ever had for a real concert. About 15 rows back, but smack dab in the middle. I swear I made eye contact with the lead singer a couple of times. And we were definitely in the audio sweet spot - the bass buzzed your sternum from start to finish. Amazing sound, but of course real loud. I should have been warned though, when the guy with the tickets (a real Radiohead head who had gone the night before) pulled out a case with ear plugs.
So it was a good show. A lot of it reminded me of Coldplay. The lead singer looked and even sounded much like the Coldplay lead singer. The music had more of an edge, certainly, than the more radio friendly Coldplay sound. Not sure there's anything I could sit down and listen to with the girls like I could with Clocks or Speed of Sound from Coldplay. Not that that is a bad thing, of course. I thought it a little strange that the crowd seemed to react the same no matter what song was started up. Usually, the first few chords of a couple choice songs will send the crowd into a special frenzy. But in Radiohead's case, pretty much every song generated an enthusiastic roar. Probably just means the crowd really knew its Radiohead songs, even the new ones.
I guess I'm not a huge devotee of "twisted, skittering melodies and complicated, chorus-free rock songs" and falsetto singing voices, so I didn't rush out to buy a Radiohead CD, but it was still a solidly entertaining couple of hours. The light show wasn't in Coldplay's league, but it was still really good. The highlight of the show to me was when they wheeled out a couple of extra drum sets for the rhythm guitarist and the other guitarist/keyboard/toy player, so there were 3 drummers playing. Listening to some cuts today, I think it was There There from the latest album, Hail to the Thief.
The ride back was a drag, even if it was free. First was the crush for the Silver Line buses. We had to wait until the third bus, which wasn't too long a wait, maybe 15 minutes. Certainly better than cramming on like packed sardines in an earlier bus. Changes went pretty smoothly after that until I got to Haymarket, when I could barely make out something about "blurgle blurgle ... last stop blurgle blurgle ... Oak Grove". I got out, thinking it wasn't going any further, but then saw others still on board, so I got back on. Turns out, the next stop, North Station, was the last stop, and I needed to go back to Haymarket and pick up a bus from there. So instead of busing from Wellington to Oak Grove, the Orange Line was shut down from North Station to Oak Grove, but you had to catch the bus from the previous stop, Haymarket. Jeez, how complicated can you get! So I rode in the bus to Wellington and finally got home about 12:15. Not sure it was worth saving the $15 or so in parking to take the T.
Update: On The Download, the Boston Phoenix MP3 blog, as a set list and a link to the Phoenix review of the June 4 show (the night before we went): OTD Set List. I'm still pretty sure the multi-drum song was There There, although the review said the other guys were playing "tom-toms" in the previous evening's show. Upon further review, the two little drums they were playing are "tom-toms" - learn something new every day!