BY ELLEN ELDRIDGE/AJC News Reporter
(Originally posted April 2, 2017)
There is no mosh pit at a Radiohead concert.
Bodies rock together in the standing room section, moving with low energy. In the seated sections, fans stand and sway in place.
It’s not an intense experience as much as it is a dynamic one. After 25 years and nine albums, Radiohead knows how to tease and please the fans, many of whom traveled from neighboring Nashville and Birmingham into Atlanta for the April 1 show.
Radiohead welcomed fans to Philips Arena by reminding them “the damage is done” but “we are happy to serve you” in “Daydreaming” off the band’s 2016 release, “A Moon Shaped Pool.”
White shards of glass-like light spiked the stage, foreshadowing the solid colors that characterized the first few songs. Shades of pink, white and blue colored the opening of the band’s set.
Several crowd favorites, such as “Paranoid Android,” Airbag” and “Subterranean Homesick Alien,” came from “OK Computer,” which celebrates its 20th birthday this year.
Fans cheered “My Iron Lung” off “The Bends,” too, but Radiohead stayed away from the singles and avoided “Creep,” one of the most popular songs from the band’s early career.
Thom Yorke and friends don’t need to wow anyone anymore. They’ve made being themselves an art. No costumes, no antics.
It’s the kind of show where you go with the crescendos and melt into the music. Radiohead fans remain loyal and accepting of the powerful heights and depths of the songs.
By the middle of the set, Yorke opened up with “Myxomatosis (Judge, Jury & Executioner)” off “Hail to the Thief.” His dancing physically took more space on the stage and he opened his frame to expose his chest as he threw punches in the air.
Breaking free, Yorke moved across the stage with his characteristic spastic steps made famous in the video for “Lotus Flower.”
Though frontman Thom Yorke is a man of few words, he took a jab at U.S. politics, saying he’s heard we’re having some trouble in our country. Then he assured us that “the people in charge know exactly what they’re doing,” which actually isn’t necessarily an assurance.
Another political nod came in the lyrics of “No Surprises,” when the crowd sang along to the lyrics, “the government, they don’t speak for us.”
It couldn’t help but feel a bit tongue in cheek when “House of Cards” presented the lyrics, “the infrastructure will collapse,” but surely the band wasn’t making Atlanta’s recent bridge woes an April Fool’s joke.
Kaleidoscopic is the word that comes to mind to describe the show Radiohead put on Saturday and it’s characteristic of previous shows. The video behind the band shows scenes of the players at different times and in slices of the screen. It’s tough to tell if the video is previously recorded. Lights flash, then curl and fade like memories and dreams.
When Radiohead returned for its final encore of the evening, they played “You and Whose Army,” definitely a crowd favorite, “Bodysnatchers” and ended with “Karma Police.”
Desert Island Disk
My Iron Lung
All I Need
Street Spirit (Fade Out)
I Might Be Wrong
Subterranean Homesick Alien
House of Cards
Burn the Witch
Everything in Its Right Place
You and Whose Army?