Way back in the late 90s, when hipsters were called emo kids, you had a boyfriend with an artsy tattoo (his own art) seemingly painted on his arm. The artsy love interest played in a band that surprised the crowd with a cover of Radiohead’s “Karma Police”. It was then that the look from behind his Rivers Cuomo-esque plasti-framed glasses established the power of Thom Yorke’s lyrics: “For a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself.”
Truly only for a minute or so as you realize that the intensity in which you look into his eyes is diverted back to his, and into a microKORG. You try to ignore his obsession for creating the perfect electronic squiggly noises, and when he begins experimenting with a Gameboy, you realize you can no longer keep up the facade. It’s a hard truth, but you’ll always have shared a love for Radiohead’s music.
Fast forward to current year — or is it the future? One might not be able to discern by the sleek l.e.d. transformer panels floating around the stage last night at American Airlines Arena in downtown Miami. Thousands were in attendance to see the opening night of Radiohead’s global tour. With plenty of long lines and obstacles that slow down the process of moving said thousands into an organized chaos that is an arena show, frustrations were apt to mount as they did for more than a few (admittedly, myself included).
Some were lucky enough to see the opening band, Other Lives, an indie rock outfit from Stillwater, OK. Unfortunately, the only review I can offer comes from a friend who texted that the opening band was “really great …” because all of the photogs/press — again, myself included — were not let into the arena to cover their set. (Did you see the set? We’d love to hear your comments!)
Finally, we were led in. Close to 8:45 p.m., Yorke appeared onstage bathed in blue light and surrounded by a serious amount of fog machine mist. The mist didn’t lift until the third song, “Morning Mr. Magpie”, only to replaced by a pungent herbal smoke floating to the arena rafters. This was also the first time Thom ‘s famous dancing began, each erratic movement eliciting an audible cheer of support from the crowd.
The sold out audience clearly found his energy contagious. Many danced about in their own expressions of Yorke’s “f*ck it” attitude, which he said throughout the evening more than a couple times.
Just like my association with “Karma Police”, Yorke told a story of fond association with Radiohead’s performance on Saturday Night Live. After practicing all day on set, just before the live show he needed to make a run to the restroom. Let’s just say each time the band performs “Staircase” Yorke will remember to “take control” of zipping up.
Other highlights included the unveiling of two new songs, “Identikit” and “Cut a Hole”. The most notable, however, was the uproarious response to a never before played live OK Computer B-Side, “Meeting in the Aisle”.
The camaraderie of the mostly festi-kid fans was illuminated by the constantly morphing lights, and the depth of knowledge they had of Radiohead’s musical backlog. Even if they didn’t know the words to the song, attendees who may have begun sitting in their seats were standing and flail-dancing after just a few songs. As were two people next to me who mentioned they met in Spain at a Radiohead concert. Between the two, they’ve seen the band 104 times, and coincidentally met again at last night’s show.
As the evening accomplished disintegrating all walls, the culmination brought us back full circle to “Karma Police”. This time, singing in unison with a couple thousand people, “I lost myself, I lost myself …”
Here are a few more photos from the show. To see the whole album, visit the Beached Miami Facebook page.
Related Link: More photos from Radiohead at AAA