"If you came to see Kid Rock, you're in the wrong place."
That's how Thom Yorke introduced himself Sunday night in Indianapolis, after skipping Indy on their tour routes of the last 13 years or so. We arrived in time to hear Grizzly Bear's last few songs, so I can't definitively say much about them. So on to the big dogs:
My fandom of Radiohead is a bit uneven. For me, their catalog seems to fit into the following categories:
albums I love to drive to (Pablo Honey, The Bends, OK Computer)
albums I think the band was trying to see what they could get away with (Kid A, Amnesiac)
albums that are excellent background music for grading papers (Hail To the Theif, In Rainbows)
And going into the show, I had realistic expectations that I wouldn't hear much from the road trip era, and I'd probably get In Rainbows in its near entirety (though, this time, I had to pay for it). I wasn't far off. For a guy who completely respects (though I don't always understand) what Radiohead does as a great rock band that caters to themselves only, I am glad I took the opportunity to see them. Here's my abbreviated take on the show:
* The visual show - LED (which means earth-friendly, or something) light tubes imprisoned the band, and obscure camera angles showed the band throughout the show. At one point, Yorke looked into the camera and played with the audience, raising his eyebrow (sort of like The Rock). For someone who wasn't overtaken with emotion during "Morning Bell," the lights were entertaining on their own.
* Very little small talk - other than his Kid Rock joke, Yorke kept it to a brief "thanks" every 4 songs or so. At some point, he congratulated the crowd on the low number of cars in the parking lot (that's what they must do between encores...count cars).
* The road trip songs - they were few and far-between, but damn, they were great. "Just" and "Street Spirit" from The Bends, "Karma Police" and "Exit Music" from OK Computer.
* Deja vu - there were about 3 times that a song began, and I thought "Didn't they play this 30 minutes ago?" I never realized how many Radiohead songs start with light guitar noodling, thom Yorke crying into the mic, and herky-jerky techno drums.
* Radioheadheads - is that what you call devotees of this band? We were next to a father/son/uncle trio who proclaimed each song to be "unreal" and never got over the fact that "their hero was on stage." They also smoked a brick of weed. It was a night that changed their lives forever. And they were so enthralled, they had to call people during "National Anthem" to tell them.
Overall, it wasn't a gut-busting show, but it definitely grew my appreciation for Kid A leaps and bounds, and I hope that next time they come to Indy (in 2021), they'll throw some "Paranoid Android" my way (I couldn't not link to one of the greatest music videos of all time).
Here's the full set list: