“Last time we played here, it was on September 11th in 2001,” says Thom Yorke before he dedicates My Iron Lung to “those of you who were here.” It’s no surprise that after almost 7 years he would still be talking about that show. That’s how memorable it was. The tragedy had only preceded the concert a few hours. There was a lot of confusion; many probably hadn’t heard about it. Yorke briefly mentioned what had happened before playing Paranoid Android. A few people cried. If I remember correctly, it rained too.
At a time when most governments, corporations and even many artists are busy sucking up to China, Radiohead unapologetically displays the Tibetan national flag on the stage. Not just one but two of them, draping over the keyboard table and the synth workstation. In between songs the keyboard table is pushed toward the center front of the stage, then Thom hammers away on the keyboard playing Everything in Its Right Place. Brilliant.
Heavy rain is intermittent throughout the concert, but that doesn’t dampen everyone’s high spirits. The crowd sings along to their favorite songs and often make Thom inaudible. Although it rather annoys me, it is quite sweet, and you can see everyone on stage is getting a kick out of it too. Just like last time, Radiohead performs two encores, introducing a new song I haven’t heard before. Had they played Down is the New Up and Last Flowers, my night would’ve been complete (they did play Bangers + Mash which is great fun).
“Sorry about the rain,” says Thom after the opener 15 Steps. “But hey, it’s a Radiohead concert.”