G and I saw Radiohead on Friday evening. The Greek Theater in Berkeley is a very intimate setting – the audience is close to the stage, and you can sit on concrete seats or on the grass. I felt a bit old as I tucked my earplugs into my bag (in case it was a little too intimate) but felt years younger when G also insisted on taking seat cushions to sit on. We were joined by Dave and Nathan.
It was a good set – lots of new material as well as old songs (including "Exit Music", "National Anthem" , "Whose Army" and "Idioteque" as a grand finale). I didn't hear anything from Pablo Honey – certainly not "Creep" but perhaps they don't play that any more. The new material – presumably destined for an album later this year – continues in the same vein as Amnesic – a kind of alternative Pink Floyd from the Syd Barrett years. There is nothing as simple (or as memorable) as a chorus in any of the new tracks; but lots of psychodelic build-up to a neruotic crescendo, which can be just as powerful.
Thom Yorke seems to get more whiny as he takes himself more (too?) seriously, but he writes good songs. Jonny Greenwood is better on the sound-board than his caricatured thrashing of lead guitar – he is obviously very talented, and seemed to be doing much of the mixing live. There was only a skeletal support crew for a band of this stature.
I was struck how little chemistry there was between the band members during the set – I would not be surprised if the rumours of a break up turn out to be true. Even the Greenwood brothers scarcely acknowledged each other on stage. I have not seen Radiohead live before, so perhaps they have always behaved like this.