Is it here yet?
Is it here yet? Could this be it? Maybe this is a sign of it…nah, on second thought, maybe not. At the mature age of 39 I find myself thinking about things that could be signs that I am involved in what I have heard so much about. The mid-life crisis. I like to think mid-life will be more like 49 than 39 but with crazy tornados, stories of the unexpected and having more media pummel me with more snippets of more crazy people like Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santorum saying absolutely crazy stuff, I have to approach looking for these signs conservatively. Uh…maybe with references to the two baffoons above I should pick a better word than ‘conservatively’. How about moderately. Yep, that’s more appropriate. Moderate…middle…almost reeks of compromise, doesn’t it? But I digress…
One of the first signs of a potential mid-life crisis was something I willfully took part in last week. A 15 hour rendezvous of sorts. My buddy of many, many, many early morning running miles (who will remain nameless) and I left work and took to the “Deep South Corridor” or the “Deep South Autobahn” where 4 hours later we ended up in Atlanta just in time for an early bird dinner at a mall-based mexican joint. Two veggie quesadillas, some guacamole dip and chips later and we emerged from the restaurant at the ripe time of 5:25pm. It is over a meal that my buddy reminds me that his wife believes we may be secretly dating. A shared bed (with a strong pillow wall between us I’ll have you know) at a Utah Marathon is where this thought of hers started. A 15 hour rendezvous to Atlanta didn’t help her joking thoughts. So, at this point you think we drove to Atlanta to get an early bird mexican meal. After the satisfaction of overeating some average mexican food we decided to kill some time by “walking it off.” We walk exactly across the street to Centennial Park where we decide to rest a bit on some long park benches. After putting these words down I’m starting to feel like mid-life might be 30 years too early for the activity that I have written about so far. Early bird dinners, walking it off, people watching on park benches? What am I, 70? Alright, on to the mid-life crisis part…
So it is nearing 7pm after the elderly activities and we decide to head into Philips Arena in Atlanta for the support act of the show. Other Lives. Take Rusted Root, mix with a strong dose of Arcade Fire and maybe even a touch of David Gray on lead vocals and you get the sound of Other Lives. Each of the 6-8 members of the band seemed to play 5 different instruments. There was a timpani, multiple violins, a viola, guitars, pianos, a steel guitar, drums, xylophones and more. The sound was memorizing. The best part is they played 7 songs and quickly exited. No disrespect to Other Lives, who were quite good, but they did EXACTLY what an opening band should do. Be heard but only seen for about 30-40 minutes. I’d consider purchasing their latest album which isn’t a common occurrence for most opening acts I have seen.
Fast forward to 8:35pm or so when the lights dropped, the house music stopped, a double band of orange-red lights appeared above the stage and about 10-12 screens dropped from chains to hang feet over the set at different angles and heights. ”Bloom” starts up as the first song and then all of those lights, the angled screens and a row of screens between the band of lights above the set display the same shade of color with camera angles of the set from nearly every mic stand, drum cymbal stand and even from a few of the instruments. An amazing perspective and use of digital images. Would you expect any less from Radiohead? You heard it right…RADIOHEAD in Atlanta!
They played 23 songs including 2 encores with 4 songs in the first one and 3 in the second one. The bassist never strayed from the primary drummer and not atypical of a band like Radiohead who is driven by a strong bass line. He also never strayed near his brother on guitar who seemingly was a bit rusty making a few small mistakes, one causing the restart of a song. Thom Yorke did his best to imitate a seizure episode and seemed to interact with the audience more than I would have expected. They played 6 songs from The King of Limbs, 4 from In Rainbows, 3 from Kid A and Hail to the Thief, 2 songs from Amnesiac, 2 new songs (Staircase and The Daily Mail), 1 unreleased song and a song from OK Computer and The Bends. Best songs played were Idioteque played at nearly double speed, Myxomatosis, Airbag, Everything in its Right Place and Street Spirit (Fade Out) as their final song. A full set list can be found here. Other pictures, much better than those I took can be found here.
We were back at the car and on I-85N within minutes of the show for a 2:45am arrival back in Charlotte and a 3:05am return home after retrieving my car. Even being 4-5 hours past my normal bedtime on a work night it was well worth it. Radiohead is bucket list material for anyone who likes their work. It may have been the live band I have ever seen and will look to catch them again if they expand their U.S. dates to eventually include Charlotte or Greensboro or Greenville or Asheville. Yep, definitely a mid-life crisis, right?
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