Radiohead – DJ Echoes’ Concert Review

RadioheadNationalAnthem

(Many thanks to @larry_weaver for the pic)

I was probably 11 or 12. I just wanted to listen to all the popular songs I was hearing on B94, Pittsburgh’s amazing (and defunct) pop station. So, my parents bought for me Now That’s What I Call Music: Volume 1. It had all the greats- Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, etc. But there was a track towards the end which totally weirded me out- some creepy song called Karma Police. I found myself mumbling along with (what I thought were) the lyrics and eventually made my piano teacher help me figure out the chords. At various points in my life since, different lines grew more or less meaningful (though “For a minute there, I lost myself…” will always wrestle a sympathetic singalong out of me). A few years later, I obtained the rest of OK Computer, and have been listening to Radiohead ever since.

A dream was realized this Sunday when I finally got to see England’s alternative darlings live at Washington D.C.’s Verizon Center. Of course, it was absolutely amazing. The setlist ran the gamut from the OK Computer era (Airbag, Paranoid Android) through Kid A (title track, The National Anthem), to songs from Hail to the Thief. In Rainbows and the King of Limbs were the most well-represented.

I rediscovered what drew me to the band in the first place. Radiohead has the ability to write gorgeous and emotional lyrics, while being vague and obtuse enough such that anyone can apply the meaning to his or her own life. While I was watching the band play, I was the only one in the room. They were playing directly to me, as they were to everyone else. One of the moments that knocked me out of my solitary trance was the sound of thousands behind me singing “Raaaaiiiiiiin down, raaaaaiiiiiiin down…” during the bridge of Paranoid Android.

But the song accompanying this post wasn’t played Sunday. It isn’t even one of my favorites, but rather one I practically ignored until recently. Fitter Happier is OK Computer’s supposed “interlude”. I had no chance of appreciating the message before being out in the real (heh..) world. Some mornings, Fitter Happier comes on during my ride to work, and the sinking-pit feeling in my stomach rivals most bad-news revelations. What at first seems like advice for a quality modern life becomes a painful critique of civilization’s soulless habits and patterns. I’ve been listening to the song on repeat for the past 45 minutes while writing this, and each spin becomes more devastating and desperate. Uggh, I need something to cheer me up, like a viewing of The Elephant Man

But yeah, go see Radiohead. It’s amazing. Also, how has there never been a Radiohead post before? Ian???

Fitter…

Happier…

More productive…

 

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