Radiohead at Arena, 3/15/12

Categories: Last Night
G. Luke Holwerda
Radiohead Arena
Thursday, March 15

See the full Radiohead slideshow here.

Last week I made it public knowledge that I'm not a Radiohead fan. Call me crazy, but the songs of the critically adored, legendary art rockers just don't speak to me. The sounds are distant and obtuse, and what can I say? I like music with immediacy.

But I went into last night's show feeling -- bring on the Radiohead puns -- optimistic. People don't just like Radiohead, they love them, and the band's status as innovators has been trumpeted far and wide. I stated in my original piece that I was willing to give Radiohead a shot, that I was excited to see if the intimacy of a live show would connect for me the way so many of the bands' records connect for its fans.

I was hoping to be impressed by the show, or at the very least that it would make me understand more about the culture that has formed around Radiohead over the years. I didn't expect to walk out of the arena as a new fan, but I was open to the idea.

I expected that there would be a few songs that made me wish I had shown up stoned. What I got was an experience that was somewhere in the middle.

G. Luke Holwerda

That mystical "feeling" Radiohead fans insisted I would get at the show? I felt it right away. My chest felt lighter and my body as a whole felt suddenly weightless the moment the band eased into "Bloom," from its latest record, King of Limbs.

The ambient tones and Afrobeat leaning rhythm of the song felt pleasantly different than what I heard when I've listened to their records. It wasn't better live in the way that jam bands are better live. It was different. To my honest, reluctant dismay, it sounded special.

G. Luke Holwerda

Part of what made the show become a fulfilling experience was the band's grand stage presence. Part of it was that feeling where I could lose myself in the live versions of every song. Even the production value was clutch, with the way the suspended LED boards looked like they gave everyone a mirror view of each band member. And there's no questioning that Thom Yorke was just straight-up fun to watch, especially during "Idioteque." Thom had the energy and spirit of a child, incessantly doing his "Lotus Flower-y" dance all about the stage.

Location Info


Gila River Arena

9400 W. Maryland Ave., Glendale, AZ

Category: Music

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