Last Night: Radiohead at the White River Amphitheatre


Photo by Marcella D. Volpintesta

An informal poll among coffee-slurping co-workers this morning indicates that Radiohead is not as universally loved as I once thought. “I liked them when they made songs,” one co-worker told me. Matter of fact, the closest resemblance to enthusiasm I’ve seen is Onstot’s reminiscence of her days in Oxford.

Me? I’m inspired to superlative by last night’s show. To say it was mind blowing would be an understatement. It was more like a suicide bomber drove into my cerebellum. Granted, I could be on concert high. I’ve been known to turn into an obsessive compulsive lunatic after a particularly enjoyable show and I’m sure I’m on the sane side of a week-long Radiohead bender.

Nevertheless, here’s what I learned about the band last night: When you listen to their studio albums, it’s easy to miss out on Jonny Greenwood’s subtle genius. But watch him at a show. When Thom York plays Videotape - a slow brooding ballad - Greenwood’s tapping his toe double time as he loops something that would be more at home at a rave. I’d never noticed it before but after seeing it live, I couldn’t miss it. Same goes for the rest of the show. I knew Radiohead was musically complex, but I had to see it to really understand it.

The only bummer, besides the rain of course, was the White River Amphitheater. Tickets cost $75. (Fuck you, Ticketmaster) Leaving the parking lot takes almost as long as the show, and tall cans of Bud Light cost $8. The venue itself is fine once you get in, but it would be a lot cooler if I’d never been to the Gorge. Instead, we were on the wrong side of the cascades on a rainy Seattle night. Thom York seemed to agree: “My favorite thing about Seattle was what happened when the WTO was here,” he told the crowd. “I dedicate this next song to anyone who was here when that was going on.” The song: You and Whose Army. Nice.

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