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Radiohead in Montreal - June 10th & 11th, 2006


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So lock the kids up safe tonight

A Radiohead Concert Review

By Andre Bouchard

radiohead_thom_yorke.jpgThe notion that Radiohead is just one of those bands that don't deserve your attention is quickly dispelled once you see them live. They say perception is everything, and that is true in most senses, but not in the case of Radiohead; relevance becomes organic. It's impossible to see them without expectations that are somehow surpassed at one point or another. Slowly, if not surely, this band was trying to kill us.

The band took the stage both nights to a thunderous greeting from their fans. It became immediately obvious to new fans that there is a fury to the music. The band plays with a confidence that lacks arrogance and appears to have returned to their guitar-driven roots. The first three songs of the two-night stand in Montreal was a summation of these beliefs. While Thom Yorke was dancing with manic frenzy (that begets only those who can truly let go) the crowd incoherently roared their approval, save for the odd woman who would yell, "I love you, Thom!" as the songs wore down. New songs were introduced both nights soon after Radiohead warmed up the crowd.

Previously, Radiohead toured in support of their latest album. However this time they chose to test the new songs live in smaller venues first before recording them for an upcoming release, possibly entitled LP7. If the crowd's responsiveness to these numbers is any indication, this album should be another great one in their catalog. 15 Step proved my suspicions of the strengths of these songs, as guitarist Ed O'Brien got the crowd to clap along with a time signature that may sound easy, but simply cant be pulled off without an attentive audience.

It's unfathomable that they could break up the Nude/Videotape combination on the upcoming album. Then again, anything is possible with Radiohead, as they have remained unconventional, all the while proving they are forward thinkers. To preface or follow the ethereal quality of this phenomenal combination, the band had to appeal to the crowd with familiar numbers and did so with Morning Bell and KidA. My Iron Lung left me in a state of ecstatic bewilderment. The sheer power from the song mixed with a perfect combination of sound and light, made the first night one to remember.

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On the second night, we were completely awestruck by the opening of You And Whose Army. While the song is obviously directed towards the president south of our border, one couldn't help but wonder if the band wasn't daring us to take them on, proving we had absolutely no chance for survival. The taunting continued right through to Open Pick. Sure, we had already seen a couple of numbers from the night before, but it didn't seem to matter.

Exit Music For A Film is a sojourn into a soft calmness you know can't last, yet time somehow stopped. Haunting highs and bellowing lows began to fill the theater, building to a peak that had the crowd erupt into a cohesive rapture while guitarist Jonny Greenwood was keeled over, violating his guitar which growled back in either pain or ecstasy, depending on your vantage point. The second night furthered the ferocity of their attack on songs like Paranoid Android but was only surpassed by the playfulness of Black Star. I Want None Of This showed us Thom at the piano while the rest of the band members left the stage. He has the voice of a corrupted angel and asked we take a lesson from him and not get stuck on a dream. As shadows cast down between numbers, stagehands would quickly embark to provide the necessary instruments for each number. This time, the band almost exploded with the opening notes of Myxamotosis.

Radiohead commands a respect that is unmatched, proven by how quiet the crowd could be during the soft passages of No Surprises or Paranoid Android. Its one of the only times in music when you won't even hear a crowd breathe, save for Thom Yorke. The hush becomes an instrument.

Radiohead obviously aren't fodder for the masses. They maintain a devoted listening core only willing to experience what the music of the moment is, whether it was one of the new songs or something that has been on our soundtrack for the better part of the past decade. Both shows also proved that the augmentation between the pristine sound and the carefully manipulated lights is almost as perfect as you can get from a live experience. For almost two hours each night, I lost myself and they remain the undisputed heavyweight champions of the world.

Setlists

Saturday June 10th, 2006

1. The Gloaming

2. National Anthem

3. 2+2=5

4. 15 Step

5. Morning Bell

6. Nude

7. Videotape

8. Kid A

9. Dollars & Cents

10. Arpeggi

11. Street Spirit (fade out)

12. Climbing Up The Walls

13. House of Cards

14. Pyramid Song

15. Idioteque

16. Bangers 'n' Mash

17. There There

Encore 1

18. How To Disappear Completely

19. Down Is The New Up

20. My Iron Lung

21. Lucky

Encore 2

22. 4 Minute Warning

23. Everything In Its Right Place

Sunday June 11th, 2006

1. You And Whose Army

2. The National Anthem

3. 15 Step

4. Open Pick

5. Exit Music (For A Film)

6. Where I End And You Begin

7. Videotape

8. Nude

9. I Might Be Wrong

10. Paranoid Android

11. Go Slowly

12. I Want None Of This

13. Myxomatosis

14. There There

15. No Surprises

16. Bangers 'N Mash

17. Everything In Its Right Place

Encore 1

18. A Wolf At The Door

19. Down Is The New Up

20. Black Star [is introduced as a new one]

21. Karma Police

Encore 2

22. Spooks

23. Planet Telex

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Guest Low Roller

Great read. You have some real primo editors. ;)

I'm glad to see that Radiohead gets love from the jamheads, even though they rarely jam. It's a real testament to their skill and emotional connection with the audience. Sometimes less is more and weird is good!

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