Radiohead (Wuhlheide, 29/09/12)
impatience is at its most as the toad and the juicy frog head to the kindl bühne wuhlheide.
i’m about to see my favourite band for the fourth time and i feel more serene than ever. my toad is with me, and considering the day we already had together, nothing, absolutely nothing, could spoil what’s about to come. tonight, i just don’t give a damn to be short legged, nothing matters at all. on the happiness scale, the frog is at the top.
while we’re queuing at the ticket ID checkpoint, only a very few minutes before the beginning of Caribou’s gig, some music arises from the woods. yes, from the woods: the wuhlheide is an open air stage which offers a perfect scenery to enjoy a king of limb.
so, here we are. the toad looks at me puzzled, and i just can’t believe the concert has already started. most of all, i just can’t identify Caribou’s music. nevertheless, the song rings me a bell and i have to wait for the drums to explode gently to exult: that’s amazing, Camera are here tonight to open the show! being the best outsiders band ever, the three of them are packed in a small van plunged into darkness. i’m kind of surprised to find them here tonight: they’ve been signed to Bureau B for a while and i thought stupidly it would have put an end to their surprise gigs. i fancy their artistic choice to steal the show from famous band or events. and i love their music.
but let’s go back to Oxford (Radiohead originates from the City of Dreaming Spires).
as we finally reach the stalls of the wuhlheide, the toad slips slowly between batrachians without saying a word, and its blue gaze conjures up a firm intention to see the stage and get closer to Caribou who is already here. i am happy as a clam, even if the horizon isn’t very bright. we enjoy a few good songs among which Odessa and Sun inflame the audience and warm up our legs. even if Caribou’s appearance is short, he demonstrates once again how, in a few minutes, he can convert a quiet assembly into a foaming dance floor.
i feel a bit out of time when he leaves the stage. it’s really difficult to find words to illustrate the wellness sensation i’m in.
when i realise that Radiohead enter the stage, my heart feels a pang of anguish. luckily, it takes only a few seconds before my face starts glowing with happiness again : Ed O’Brien and Phil Selway are right in front of me now. however, a few tall toads prevent any access to the middle or the right side of the stage. that’s too bad. Lotus Flower‘s wriggling rhythm opens the show, i would have loved seeing Thom Yorke dancing.
all of a sudden, my dumbfounded eyes are dazzled by an army of square screens and lights that overlook the stage. in a second, everything is illuminated and coloured, on the background of the stage, above the stage, on the right, on the left, that’s very amazing. my goodness, this is going to be the best Radiohead’s concert ever!
during all the concert, each image of the live shooting flickers with drawings and animations created by Stanley Donwood, yellow turns to blue, blue turns to green, orange looms up. from an aesthetic point of view, this is a dazzling masterpiece.
the tracks selection is a perfect combination of all albums except Pablo Honey. this very idea to play The King of Limbs, which with Kid A and Amnesiac belongs to the most experimental albums of the band, along with songs from the very-guitar OK Computer is a great idea. the concert is skilfully orchestrated and the first notes of songs such as Paranoid Android, Planet Telex or Pyramid Song electrify the audience.
stemmed from The King of Limbs, the crazy electronic drums of Clive Deamer (Portishead’s drummer, among others) on Bloom are just fantastic. this song has a devilish drum rhythm, and demonstrates with brio the complexity of their last album’s tortured songs.
for The Daily Mail, a “new” song which already spread in the universe via the net, Thom Yorke sits at the piano and offers us a beautiful piano and voice introduction, showing that the band is still in the lead in terms of magnificent melodies.
but the song which sets both the audience and the frog on fire is Myxomatosis. it helps me to forget that i haven’t caught sight of Thom Yorke yet. i love this song, especially the noisy guitar/keyboard/bass combination which opens it up and makes me dance furiously in the tiny space around me. i love both the craziness of Phil Selway’s drums and the bizarre of Thom’s lyrics.
after a few seconds, i start fidgeting and try vainly to see anything on stage, yet the view is full of unknown (radio)heads, damn it.
still, a loving and decided look tells me straightaway that i have no other choice but to let it go: the toad sizes my legs gently and my body flings in the air swiftly, without even realising it.
an electrical discharge of true happiness flows into my veins, i cast my wide open eyes on the ones i haven’t seen yet. Thom’s dancing like a devil, exactly how i was expecting. the way he sways his hips is just incredible and releases an alert signal of sensuality to my brain. i feel completely confused and blind drunk with love and joy when i come back on the ground. i’m so excited that i have to control myself not to cover the toad with kisses.
i don’t know yet that i will renew this exhilarating experience a bit later, and try to recover a little on The Gloaming. i look at the sky, it’s full moon and i’m in paradise when Thom Yorke announces These are my twisted words. i can clearly remember in which despair i was when Radiohead offered us this song via their mailing list in august 2009. i had never listened to it again before today.
The Daily Mail
These are my twisted words
The National Anthem
Give Up the Ghost
Unravel/Everything in its right Place
the introducing piano notes of Videotape plunge me into my favourite melancholic state. it’s been four tracks i haven’t seen Thom Yorke or Jonny Greenwood, i start again to wriggle about. i wish for a moment i could reintroduce the use of the guillotine to clear the view, but then, my agitation draws my toad’s attention again. and i’m back in the air!
Radiohead are better than ever, Colin Greenwood’s bass is perfectly balanced and magnified each song. Ed and Colin’s faces and smiles radiate pleasure and joy. Jonny is, as usual, secluded behind his hair, but nevermind, each note he plays is magic (on his guitar, keyboard, radio, or when he cobbles together). i’m just over happy.
i notice the amused and surprised look of my toad as i hear a radio sound crackling from the stage and can’t muffle a cry of both cheerfulness and excitation. i start leaping, OMG, The National Anthem is about to start. i just love this song too, especially when trumpets and saxophones are yelling with rage. Thom leaps as if he were possessed by some uncontrollable frenzy, this is damn good. if tonight no trumpets nor saxophones are in sight, guitars take over and keep the craziness alive. wow, wow, wow!
the very last moments of pure emotions and melancholy take place at the second encore with Give up the Ghost. the loops of Thom’s voice reanimate my desire to see him again. i have no time to demonstrate any state of excitement, the toad reads in my mind. my heart melts as i see Thom and Jonny, alone on stage, for the last time. hypnotised by the loops of in your arms, in your arms, signals of bliss spread from my body. i don’t want to go back in the country of dwarves.
when the toad’s muscles give out, i can’t even find a word to show my gratitude. i’m too deeply moved.
the ocean of emotions that surrounds me vanishes slightly as Tom starts singing some lyrics i know but i can’t bring them together with any songs by Radiohead. it takes me a few seconds to recognize Unravel, a song from Björk.
this is the best introduction ever to Everything in its Right Place, jesus. the song reanimates the audience until the band leaves the stage once again. my legs are shaking, the tip of my toes hurts, even so, the screens are still on. i look at my toad with questioning eyes. is it really the end? a malicious smile appears on its face whereas the clamour announces Radiohead’s return.
this is the last song but not just a song among others. Radiohead has decided to finish us off with an incredible and never-ending version of Idiotheque that knocks us out. and when the concert comes really to an end, the toad and i remain silent and thoughtful. the wuhlheide empties as the toad gently offers me to get closer to the stage. we advance slowly in silence and come up to the stage where a few fans stamp their feet impatiently. we observe the instruments, wonder whether they will stay outside in the damp air until the forthcoming concert (the day after).
when the setlists eventually fly away in the air, the dancing toad and the juicy frog make up their minds and head to the exit without hurry. what a concert, what a tremendous concert.