Seeing Radiohead live again after 8 years recently was a little like running into an old girlfriend you used to be a tad obsessed with. It’s kind of weird – they’ve put on a bit of weight (in this case, the addition of an entire extra drummer), and everything still looks to be hanging together in more or less good shape – curves where they should be, lean where it counts – but the lingering fact remains that somehow, someway, the whole deal just isn’t as hot anymore.
Tossing out a few bones in the form of three lonely tunes from the pre Kid A era didn’t leave much for fans who initially took to them as awkward indie outsiders (and not the good kind), while the overblown stage show mainly featured oddly tilted video screens and lots of blinding white light. I’m sure it was just dandy for anyone standing dumb-struck within genuflecting distance, but this was an arena, the kind big bands play, so the rest of us just got a mess of searing visual white noise. To be honest, it really could’ve been any two drummers up there. The sound was passable for a 10,000+ seater, but the dizzying highs, the terrifying lows and the positively creamy middles of the 2004 tour were never seriously under threat and that can’t be entirely the fault of the venue, concrete dump that it is: the newer songs just aren’t as exhilarating, and never could be. The heavy reliance on material from the sad slow decline that began with 2003′s Hail To The Thief mostly saw to that.
Oh sure, much like the afore-mentioned ex there was the occasional reminder of why you were so madly smitten in the first place (will you ever forget the hazy, crazy days of 1997-2001?), but you know, deep deep down in your heart, that time is long gone and you’ve both kind of moved on.
She may be a bit rough now, but try to be kind, and remember her as she once was. And know you most definitely had the best of her.