Radiohead began their two-night stand at Madison Square Garden (pics, videos, setlist, review)
photos by Dana Distortion
The last time I saw Radiohead was at Prudential Center in 2012 on the The King of Limbs tour. That's one of the band's most low-key albums, a bit underrated even, and the tour in support of it followed suit. But this year's A Moon Shaped Pool is Classic Radiohead, instantly loved by fans, an OK Computer or In Rainbows type of album. And Tuesday night's (7/26) show at Madison Square Garden, their first of two shows there on the AMSP tour, was, accordingly, a triumph.
They kicked off the show with that album's opening song, "Burn the Witch," arranged slightly differently than the orchestral version that appears on the album, and they stuck entirely to that album for the first five songs. Already you could feel that the band was in great spirits, and really feeding off the crowd who was clearly into it. A few songs later, the setlist gems starting popping up. We got the first "15 Step" of this tour, "Planet Telex" (only played a few previous times on this tour), and the first "Let Down" in a decade. Setlist choices aside -- and it was a great setlist -- you could really tell that Radiohead were in top form on Tuesday night. It's still impressive how a band with such a diverse discography makes songs from such different eras sound so natural together. "15 Step" came right after "The National Anthem" off Kid A, which came right after "Lotus Flower" off The King of Limbs, and it all sounded cohesive. There was a noticeably bigger crowd reaction for the all-time favorites like "Planet Telex," as well as "Everything in Its Right Place," "Idioteque," and "Paranoid Android," but it never felt like the deeper cuts were less captivating.
As they usually do, Radiohead also proved that they continue to be an arena band on their own terms. They didn't play "Creep" (which they've been breaking out on this tour), or even "Karma Police." They looked small on that stage compared to other artists who frequent venues like Madison Square Garden, but they also handled the room with ease. It never felt like there'd be a more appropriate place for them to play. Also, Radiohead are the kind of band where the lines are blurred between hits and deep cuts, and artistic decisions and crowd-pleasing ones. They ended the show with "Street Spirit (Fade Out)," the last track on The Bends, and somehow that felt so appropriate. Some shows on this tour have ended with "Karma Police" or "Creep," but it can be just as satisfying to get an ending like this.
Radiohead will do it again at MSG on Wednesday (7/27). Pictures of Tuesday's show are in the gallery above. Check out the setlist and some more Instagram pics/videos below.
UPDATE: Night 2 happened.
Burn the Witch
Desert Island Disk
The National Anthem
Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief
2 + 2 = 5
Everything in Its Right Place
Street Spirit (Fade Out)