Radiohead offers fascinating performance

Payton Reid, Editorial Board

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After a surprise entrance and numerous false exits, the after-concert buzz did not fall flat in the Key Arena on April 8th. In approximately two and a half hours, the British rock band moved smoothly through 25 songs to the massive, sold out crowd.

Radiohead has a very dedicated fanbase that anxiously waited outside, some people arriving as early as 3am to ensure a spot in the front row against the general admission barrier. Just before they were to take the stage, an opening band gave a short performance to set the tone for the night. Dudu Tassa & the Kuwaitis is a cross-cultural Jewish-Arabic band from Israel, and introduced themselves to the crowd as such. The band collaborated with Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood back in 2011, possibly leading to the decision to have Dudu Tassa open the show.

With their original line-up and one additional touring member, Radiohead immediately captivated their audience with a subtle entrance. Frontman, lead singer, and guitarist Thom Yorke is a tacit performer that made little movement throughout several of the songs – because he did not have to. The energy of the music paired with his vocals was more than enough to keep the crowd entertained.

Though the topic and tone of most Radiohead lyrics are somewhat melancholy, Yorke and the other five band members made up for the solemnity with gentle chuckles and quiet “thank you”’s into their microphones after every song. Each member kindly acknowledged the tech crew that switched guitars during short pauses. Greenwood may have needed the most tech support as he played close to a dozen different instruments throughout the show, ranging from piano to modular synth, despite primarily playing guitar.

Halfway through the show Yorke did not interact with the crowd other than to show his appreciation, until there was a minor technical difficulty and false start to the track “The Gloaming.”  He indulged in a few short words of self deprecating banter that got the crowd cheering through the poignant setlist. “I’m a [expletive] professional,” Yorke said.

After playing songs that jumped back and forth across their discography, from “Idioteque” off the album “Kid A” from 2000, to “Burn the Witch” from the 2017 album “A Moon Shaped Pool,” Radiohead closed with the fan favorite “Fake Plastic Trees,” released in 1995 on “The Bends,” one of the bands most notable albums.

Despite having a rather straightforward, conventional approach to the concert, Radiohead, paired perfectly with Dudu Tassa & The Kuwaitis, delivered the long and captivating show fans desired while under the aura of nostalgia for the approaching 20 year anniversary of the milestone album “OK Computer.”

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