There’s something about Thom Yorke’s voice that surrounds you, permeates and elevates you.
The Radiohead lead singer’s vocals are blanketed in layers of electric and acoustic guitars, submerging you in hypnotic, idiosyncratic drum and bass sequences that confound some audiences but pleases the band geeks in the audience. Which is really everyone, this is the band geeks band. The visual elements of the concert are nearly indescribable; overwhelming and Pink Floyd-esque with their own beautiful, manic, gloomy vibe.
You want to close your eyes and just let it all sink in. But if you do, you’ll miss the spectacle — one that was on proud display at the Key Arena in Seattle on April 8.
As the band readies itself to headline two of the biggest festivals on the planet this year — Coachella and Glastonbury — they took the new show on the road to test drive it with a handful of dates around the States. It’s an immense show. In this day and age it has to be. Glasto hosts around 175,000 folks in June and Coachella 90,000 each weekend over two weekends in April.
Makes the Key, with a capacity of just over 17,000, seem downright intimate.
Each and every song of the night had a completely different visual theme. Some eyeballs, some lazers, a little of the old disco ball feel to take you back to high school. By the time they reached their first break, audience members — as if on cue — discovered the flashlight app on their phone and began lighting up the arena with a show all their own. Along with the growing rumble of stomping feet, clapping hands and whistles, everything hit a fever pitch that didn’t subside until they walked back out.
Then came the first few piercing notes of “No Surprise”, echoing amidst the championship banners flying overhead.
The audience was treated to a six-song, two part encore that ended with “Everything In Its Right Place”. The room erupted as the band walked off stage yet again, but after a couple more minutes of ear-splitting enthusiasm they retook their places onstage waving and applauded the fans. The room settled in as Yorke strummed the first chords of “Fake Plastic Trees” and away we went.
It was the only song that wasn’t written on the stage setlist according to Setlist.fm — a true encore. A fitting end to a show where the band elevated the audience, and the crowd in return put the band on their shoulders for a victory lap.
Title Image via Consequence of Sound