What can you say about a band that has influenced so many others? A band that has influenced this writer so much she wound up getting a Radiohead bear tattoo on her 26th birthday? The set last night in St. Louis was one to envy for those not in attendance. The Scottrade Center was packed with jubilant young folk eager to shout all the lyrics to their favorite songs, me included. The atmosphere was ripe with good vibes and they easily transcended to the stage when Radiohead came out.
This was easily the happiest I had seen the group in years. Ed (lead guitar) was seen jumping, bouncing and dancing through most of the set list. He is normally the tall, dark and stoic one of the group. Always looking focused on his tasks of not screwing up the song, not that he would. Phil, back on drums, looked to be in an ethereal state through much of the set, playing songs with his eyes closed and a slightly crooked smile coming across his face as he heard the crowd chime in the lyrics to many songs.
The new album, The King of Limbs, has brought about a new member of the band, Clive Deamer, on a second set of drums. It’s really ironic how much he looks like Phil Selway. Almost as if mitosis was performed on Phil to duplicate his awesome sense of timing and handsome bald head. The duo worked really well together playing off each other’s tempo and performing enough beats to satisfy the heavier looping sounds frequently used in The King of Limbs. The band seamlessly transitioned to older songs with either Clive helping with some bass beats or sneaking off stage for a song or two.
The set list was a dream for any hard core Radiohead fan. Sure, they didn’t play “Creep” “Fake Plastic Trees” or “OK Computer”. They did, however, play “Karma Police”, or should I say they attempted “Karma Police”? It was actually quite humbling to see Thom begin to mumble at some of the more vague parts of the song and suddenly turn to the crowd for assistance. I got quite a chuckle out of some of the changed lyrics in the latter half of the song, “This is what you get…when you forget the words”.
One of the most amazing performances happened early in the night with “Morning Mr. Magpie”. This song has never stuck out to me on the album. Sure, it’s a great song, but in the entirety of the album, it’s never been one I skip straight to. However, seeing it live changed its context completely for me. The stage lit up in golds and reds and there was a transcendental aura on the stage. Thom looped his vocals more than normal for the song and the group mirrored that effect with an echo of the song that simply can’t be described.
The other song that truly blew me away was the show’s closer, “Idioteque”. Now this is a song that has always been close to my heart. The entire Kid A album, in fact, has always been special to me. I was not aware that the song could be so meaningful to the rest of the Scottrade Center attendees. The entire crowd bursts out into cries of joy and jumps of anticipation when the first few notes of the song began. The song was made even better live with the improvisations that Ed and Johnny put into the song. The group slowly left the stage one by one. Thom first, then the back row of Colin, Clive and Phil. Johnny and Ed remained the longest to continue the looping of the song for the crowd.
The openers, Other Lives, really held their own opening for Radiohead. The stage was packed with the five regular members and a couple of touring help. The group originate from Stillwater, Oklahoma, which is a long way from England. Surprisingly, the indie rock sound meshed perfectly as an opener for Radiohead. Classifying themselves as folk is almost shooting themselves in the foot. I would hate for someone to cast them aside because of that label when I would definitely label them more melody-making rock with some strong influences from Simon and Garfunkel. Lead vocalist Jesse Tabish controlled the crowd with his tranquil voice and the rest of the group captivated with their sheer talent for many instruments. Other Lives uses a plethora of instruments but easily proves that they aren’t spreading themselves too thin. Other Lives released their newest album, Tamer Animals, last year and is available from their website: http://otherlives.com/
*This photographer only had access to photograph Other Lives this night.
Little By Little
Morning Mr. Magpie
The Daily Mail
The Amazing Sounds of Orgy
Everything in its Right Place
Give Up the Ghost
You and Whose Army?
photos and story by Angela Davis