Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Review: Radiohead @ Philips Arena - Atlanta, GA (+ Hear A New Track From Their Dallas Show)

Radiohead @ Philips Arena - Atlanta, GA: March 1, 2012

By: Jeffrey K.

Hey, remember that time back in the summer of 2001 when we showed up to Stone Mountain 8 hours before the Radiohead show with the intention of spending the day hiking up the "mountain" [read: large mound of granite]? Yeah, we wound up spending the entire day sitting on the blacktop in the 95 degree heat waiting with the other diehard fans hoping to get a choice spot right in front of the stage at the general admission show. I don't think I peed once that entire day. From a distance, I was able to hear them play "Like Spinning Plates" during the soundcheck and I just about lost my mind in excitement (alas, they didn't play it during the show). How about that time we bailed on that super-important Circuits lecture back in college to make it to the amphitheater in time to hang out in the parking lot for 3 hours before the show? How about that last time when we realized we were adults and showed up at 7pm with the reasonable people?

Remember all that? OF COURSE YOU DON'T!!! You're not me! Get your own memories! I bet you have some similar stories though, don't you? I heard on Twitter that there were kids lined up by the Philips Arena entrance as early as 7am.

Radiohead concerts are so rare and grandiose that they transcend the normal "shows" that I frequent at the clubs around town. They're EVENTS. They are not to be missed. If your job requires you to travel that night, you cancel or possibly quit. If your car is at the shop, you throw down $100 for the cab fare there and back. If your aunt suddenly dies in a car wreck, you skip the funeral and go to the show. (...well, I might anyway... we're not all that close...). Thankfully, I didn't have to do any such thing.

The band took the stage promptly at 8:45PM. The familiar cascading tones of "Bloom," the lead-off track from The King of Limbs, blasted through the PA and the crowd immediately erupted in joy. I can't really describe how cool it is to be in a room with more than 10,000 other people who can "name that tune" in one note. You suddenly feel part of something bigger than the personal relationship you have with your stereo headphones.

The stage was glorious! It was entirely backlit by LED tubes of flashing lights. Flat screens dangled from the ceiling and repositioned themselves across the stage throughout the entire set, flashing live images of each band member thrashing through each song.

I've been a big apologist of The King of Limbs, which is a very strong record that only pales in comparison to the band's other output. After seeing the live performances of the record on the "From the Basement" series of online videos, I knew these songs were meant to be heard live. What sounds somewhat cold on record sounds much more organic on stage, especially with a second drummer filling in extra beats. I would have loved to hear some of their older songs with the accompaniment of the second drum kit.

Oh, will someone tell Thom Yorke to cut off that dumb pony tail he's now sporting? He looks like Gollum if he were a hippie.

The opening riff of "Airbag" immediately sent the crowd into a rapture. It would be the only song played from OK Computer that night. Other highlights for me included "Kid A" (which I would never have expected to ever hear live), "There There" (hands down the best Radiohead song of the last 10 years for me), and Idioteque (can't get enough of Thom Yorke dancing like a maniac). "Nude" and "Lotus Flower" bookended a new song, "Identikit," which was debuted in Miami just a couple nights before. If "Identikit" is any indication of the direction Radiohead forges for their next record, consider me very excited.

The show ended with two fantastic encores, the first of which included "You and Whose Army?" I don't find that song to be a highlight of Hail to the Thief, but it's always a highlight of their concerts. Thom stares directly into the camera and eggs the crowd on as he mumbles "Come on!" The crowd eats it up. They ended the show with "Street Spirit (Fade Out)," which is the perfect closer to another perfect Radiohead show. I can't wait for the next show (probably in 3 years).


Thanks Jeff! Check out the setlist from the Atlanta show below, as well as a new arrangement of Thom Yorke solo track "Skirting On The Surface" that the band performed in Dallas (via NME). For our UK friends, Radiohead has also announced three new shows for this fall - one at Manchester's Evening News Arena on October 6, and a two-night stay at London's O2 Arena on October 8 & 9. Tickets for all three shows are on sale tomorrow (March 7).

Radiohead @ Philips Arena Setlist:

Little by Little
Weird Fishes / Arpeggi
Morning Mr. Magpie
The Gloaming
Kid A
Pyramid Song
Identikit (New song)
Lotus Flower
There There
The Daily Mail

Encore 1:
You and Whose Army?
The One I Love (REM cover) leading into Everything In Its Right Place

Encore 2:
Street Spirit (Fade Out)


  1. great review, you sound like a fellow addict. lets hope identikit is that raw on record, and not stripped down!

  2. Come on, Jeffrey K! "You and Whose Army"'s on "Ammesiac"!!!11!1!1

  3. You're right! I slipped up. I guess I should stop writing this stuff so late at night.