NME Live: Radiohead at Roseland Ballroom
October 18, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Published in the Oct. 15 issue of NME Magazine.
Considering people were genuinely offering to sell the proverbial kidney to get hold of a ticket, those at the second of Radiohead’s two Roseland Ballroom dates didn’t half make a racket. “It’s alright,” said Thom Yorke towards the end of the set, “You can talk, I don’t care.”
New York had been talking, all week. First there was a weirdly muted Saturday Night Live television performance, then an hour-long special of the Colbert Report two nights later. During an awkward interview with the band political satirist Steven Colbert asked, “Why do we like you?”
“We haven’t got a clue,” said Yorke, like he meant it.
The scramble for tickets proved Radiohead can still cause a fuss. People wanted to be seen at the Roseland, and the victorious 3500 obviously felt entitled to natter. Jack Black and Danger Mouse swilled drinks on the balcony. Beneath, punters slammed past each other to get closer to the stage. A queue snaked around the building and the NYPD eyeballed everyone for signs of trouble. Pale-faced teenagers wandered, holding placards begging for tickets.
It was a show of few surprises. King Of Limbs got a substantial airing, Jonny Greenwood thrashing his way through ‘Little By Little’, Yorke grinning as he tested some teeth-rattling bass before ‘Feral’ and dancing maniacally with three maracas in ‘Lotus Flower’. If the album was controversial on its release, its live incarnation will silence critics. Only ‘Codex’ failed to translate, brass-less and lost on the noisy crowd.
‘The National Anthem’ and ‘Myxomatosis’ were both fresh and mean as ever. ‘Like Spinning Plates’ was a highlight, and seemed unplanned, Yorke dismissing Portishead drummer and Radiohead addition Clive Deamer with the words, “Stick around, Clive,” before hammering out its refrain on the piano.
A rusty snippet of ‘True Love Waits’ was hastily abandoned for the pounding ‘Everything In Its Right Place’. ‘The Daily Mail’, ‘Staircase’ and ‘Supercollider’ made up a trio of unreleased tracks, the latter in the second of two encores. ‘Nude’ polished off the two-hour set.
Radiohead have secured a new, younger fan base over the course of the last two albums, exonerating them from endless calls to play ‘Creep’ and ‘Paranoid Android’ from the old guard. But if their Roseland shows are anything to go by, they may need to work hard to keep the attention of their new fans in future.