Radiohead - South Park, Oxford, 7/7/01 - Abingdon and Oxfordshire Band Come Home
After experiencing Homelands this year, it became
apparent that the number of dance bands that did not
wither under the challenge of performing in front of
thousands of revellers could be counted on one hand.
Adding unfortunate credence to the rock clichés about
live dance music there was something very wrong with
the limp live performances on display at the festival.
It was hard to pinpoint exactly why, but there was
never a bigger gap between the emotional catharsis bought
on by recorded music compared with live music than was
evident at Homelands. Instead of the post gig great
ephemeral rush, the audience was left bruised and battered
but with nothing to show for it. Only a post-coitial
cold and faceless chill that certainly didn't grapple
the heart in the way live music can. So it came as a
surprise that Radiohead (from nearby Abingdon), seemingly suffering very eloquently
from a musical identity crisis, managed to replicate
their recent forays into 'electronica' with such focus
and emotional elan.
It was clear that the stop start fragmentary music
on Kid A and Amnesiac transformed into
something very special live. On record what may have
sounded glib and elitist, translated onto the stage
as menacing as it was all embracing. This was no less
apparent than on Idiotheque, which lead the audiences'
dancing feet into emotional territory unknown .The song
transmuted from the concise recorded version into a
diving cocktail of a crunching Mo 'Wax via Richard
James beats and heart heavy falsetto vocals. Strange
as it seems, the overriding feeling was that this, was
what live dance music is meant to feel like.
All edgy and angular, in comparison The Bends
era songs; Fake Plastic Trees and Street Spirit,
seemed like pleasant nods to another era. Indeed, as
if to acknowledge the quantum leap the band has made
since their 'meat and potato song' days, Thom delivered
surprise closer Creep in the style of a Vegas
The Ok Computer material mixed noticeably better
with the newer songs. The militant bass chug of opener
Morning Bell and the dreamy guitar symphony of
Knives Out slipped effortlessly in with the juddering
Airbag and the devastating Talk Show Host.
More than just a 'greatest hits' show this was a lesson
in how to musically reach the peak of your powers and
reinvent yourself with grand chutzpah.
The bands played for over two hours delighting the audience
with a mix of the familiar and territory uncertain.
Musical shape shifters indeed, it is no mean feat that
a band as big as Radiohead can still musically confuse
and touch in equal measure.
'Packt Like Sardines In A Crshed Tin Box'
'My Iron Lung'
'Exit Music (For A Film)'
'Dollars & Cents'
'Street Spirit (Fade Out) '
'I Might Be Wrong'
'Everything In Its Right Place'
'Fake Plastic Trees'
'You and Whose Army'
'How To Disappear Completely'
'Talk Show Host'
'The Bends' Encore Three
'Motion Picture Soundtrack' (Colin & Thom alone - aborted)
Report bt Priya Elangasinghe