Black is the color of night, of cool, of darkness, of the opaque, of the unknown. Black is the color of the galaxy, the pigmentation of the space between the planets and the stars and the comets and the objects that we have yet to identify. Black is the polar opposite of white, and it was the predominant color at the Radiohead concert last Thursday in Miami, where the band opened its 2017 tour.
Fans wore black. T-shirts, blouses, pants, jackets, caps. I wore black. My wife wore black. We were geared for a dark evening.
If Radiohead were a time of day, they would lie somewhere between dusk and dawn. This is where Radiohead resides. They make melodies and sounds and noise that reverberates, coagulates, and then secretes into your soul before the sun’s first rays poke out.
It was Radiohead that helped me cope with my father’s battle with lung cancer in the early 2000s (the other band was Rage Against the Machine.)
In the early 1990s, Radiohead released PABLO HONEY, unarguably their most “conventional” album (it features “Creep,” a wonderful song that they refuse to play live anymore). Then they began to detour a little with the aptly named THE BENDS (1995) and OK COMPUTER (1997), which launched them into rock stardom alongside their contemporaries. But in this author’s humble opinion, it was the back-to-back releases of KID A (2000) and AMNESIAC (2001) that fired them through the ozone layer and into the dark where they remain, occasionally orbiting the Earth and sometimes drifting close enough for us to catch a glimpse.
Last week when the lights in the arena began to dim, an ominous hum sounded over the speakers, like the dial tone of an old telephone. “They’re here,” I said to my wife, sounding oddly similar to that young girl in the movie “Poltergeist.”
But these were not spirits. This was Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Ed O’Brien, and Phil Selway.
We stood, all of us, in black attire, and welcomed the English quintet with howls befitting a rout of wolves on a full moon.
They opened the show with a gradual lift-off into Daydreaming from their latest album, A MOON SHAPED POOL (2016), a soft tiptoe of a song between a state of consciousness and sub-consciousness, between the darkness of sleep and the brightness of a dream, cracking an idyllic tone for the rest of the evening, which was beautiful, eerie, melancholic and sublime.
Through a 24-song well balanced set across their entire songbook including Idioteque, Lotus Flower, Weird Fishes, No Surprises, Fake Plastic Trees, and You and Whose Army, Radiohead pulled the crowd a step closer, inviting us to a place brighter than the blackness that was all around us.
(I bought a new shirt. It is gray.)
Full Set List (Miami, 3/30/2017)
Song / ALBUM / Year
- Daydreaming / MOON SHAPED POOL / 2016
- Desert Island Disk / MOON SHAPED POOL / 2016
- Ful Stop / MOON SHAPED POOL / 2016
- Airbag / OK COMPUTER / 1997
- Morning Bell / KID A / 2000
- Climbing Up the Walls / OK COMPUTER / 1997
- All I Need / IN RAINBOWS / 2007
- Videotape / IN RAINBOWS / 2007
- Let Down / OK COMPUTER / 1997
- I Might Be Wrong / AMNESIAC / 2001
- Lotus Flower / KING OF LIMBS / 2011
- Identikit / MOON SHAPED POOL / 2016
- Idioteque / KID A / 2000
- Nude / IN RAINBOWS / 2007
- Weird Fishes/Arpeggi / IN RAINBOWS / 2007
- The Numbers / MOON SHAPED POOL / 2016
- How to Disappear Completely / KID A / 2000
- No Surprises / OK COMPUTER / 1997
- Burn the Witch / MOON SHAPED POOL / 2016
- Reckoner / IN RAINBOWS / 2007
- Fake Plastic Trees / THE BENDS / 1995
- The Tourist / OK COMPUTER / 1997
- You and Whose Army? / AMNESIAC / 2001
- BodySnatchers / IN RAINBOWS / 2007
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