Review: Radiohead at 1STBANK Center, 3/13/12

Categories: Last Night

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Eric Gruneisen
Thom Yorke of Radiohead last night at the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield. Slide show: Radiohead at the 1STBANK Center.


RADIOHEAD @ 1STBANK CENTER | 3.13.12

Thom Yorke apparently has no idea where he is right now. "Wassup," he intones after a lively rendition of "Morning Mr Magpie," a decidedly jittery track from King of Limbs. "Where are we? Where the fuck are we? We're on the ground somewhere, near the mountains somewhere." Wherever it is that he thinks he is at the moment, one thing's clear: He's positively overjoyed to be here, present in this moment. We're five songs in at the 1STBANK Center, and Yorke has been tripping the rave-light fantastic for the better part of the set, dancing like his very soul depends on it.

Truth be told, it's a refreshing sight to see. For a guy whose inherent stoicism allows you to reasonably infer that he's some sort of tightly wound, terminally unfun intellectualist in real life, so far he's shown himself to be just the opposite. In fact, if you knew nothing else of Yorke, his banter over the course of the evening would lead you to believe that he's fun-sized and fluent in dudespeak. After "Staircase," the next song, for instance, he reveals that he was kidding with that whole "where are we" business earlier:

"I mean, I, like, know we're outside Denver," he notes. A couple songs later, he declares that "It's all good," apropos of nothing, and before the night is over, he will proclaim that he and the band intend to both "pick this mother up a bit" and "rip shit up." To add to the levity, he appeared on stage this evening dressed from the waist up like one Mr. Theodore Logan, fresh off the plane from San Dimas.

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Eric Gruneisen
Thom Yorke of Radiohead last night at 1STBANK Center in Broomfield. Slide show: Radiohead at the 1STBANK Center

What's more, with his hair pulled back in a ponytail and flanked by Ed O'Brien, who is at least nine feet tall, and himself clad in a henley-and-derby combo similar to the one the Edge fancied on the Joshua Tree tour, Yorke could just as easily be mistaken for bizarro Bono being channeled by your slightly emaciated septuagenarian grandma. As patently absurd as that may seem, and although their sounds are entirely different, this is actually a fairly apt comparison, as Yorke and O'Brien, who frequently harmonize with each other, display the same sort of casual interplay with each other as Bono and the Edge.

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Eric Gruneisen
Ed O'Brien of Radiohead last night at 1STBANK Center. Slide show: Radiohead at the 1STBANK Center

You have to wonder, really, if anyone else has even noticed or given any thought to such absurdities, as there is absolutely no shortage of captivating eye candy to vie for your attention. From the moment Radiohead opens the show in front of a towering, two-story wall of LEDs, with giant flat screens simultaneously descending from the ceiling and pointed every which direction, like a deck of cards tossed indiscriminately in the air and gently floating back down to earth, until the band eventually finishes nearly two hours later with "Idioteque," backdropped by Day-Glo-colored psychedelic fractals, it's like a giant Windows Media Player visualizer (or "like jelly beans, the ugly ones," as one fella astutely observes during "Codek").

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Eric Gruneisen
Radiohead last night at 1STBANK Center in Broomfield. Slide show: Radiohead at the 1STBANK Center

And as the music twists and turns, the visuals follow suit. During "Bloom," the blue-green hue and aquatic pattern evoke the sensation of being under water, fitting for a song that makes references to jellyfish and the ocean blooming. Elsewhere during the set, the spectrum of colors matches the mood, and the visuals range from soothing to erratic, with Matrix-like displays that conjure twitchy, nerve-damaged Times Square scrolls. As Yorke and company soldier through their set, which itself veers from subdued moments of tranquility to manic blasts of bludgeoning bass lines, they keep their light man busier than a Galaga junkie with a backpack full of quarters.

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Eric Gruneisen
Colin Greenwood of Radiohead last night at 1STBANK Center in Broomfield. Slide show: Radiohead at the 1STBANK Center

While dyed-in-the-wool Radiohead devotees would have you believe that this set is as flawless as it is transcendent, those fans are likely the ones who picked up on the band in the post-OK Computer age, who not only fully appreciate the more glitch-tastic years, but prefer them. There's a great many of those folks on hand tonight, and they're all beside themselves with glee. Early in the set, a dude standing next to us turns to his lady friend and taps his arm like he's giving himself a fix and then glances over at the stage and back at her and then rolls his eyes and feigns getting high.

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Eric Gruneisen
Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead last night at 1STBANK Center. Slide show: Radiohead at the 1STBANK Center

For the rest of us, while few would legitimately cop to having any complaints whatsoever with the setlist, especially being as starved as we've been for live Radiohead over the years, truth is, our hearts race a little more when Radiohead pulls out the older tunes like "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" and "Karma Police," the latter of which is delivered in a notably languid and laconic version tonight. With that in mind, there are at least a few moments, particularly during the more down-tempo numbers like "Codex," during which the energy level dips a little more than we would like it to.

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Eric Gruneisen
Phil Selway of Radiohead last night at 1STBANK Center. Slide show: Radiohead at the 1STBANK Center

Just the same, the diversity adds a distinctive contrast to the set, and by the end of the pair of encores, with back-to-back "Myxomatosis" and "Idioteque," well, let's just say their light guy earns his keep -- and how. One of the techs informs us after the set, when we ask to peek at the setlist, that the guys decided to switch things up a bit and swapped songs that were originally on the setlist for others that they presumably pulled out on the fly.

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Radiohead's lighting dudes getting a workout during the second encore last night at 1STBANK Center. Slide show: Radiohead at the 1STBANK Center

While the entire encore section proves to be stellar, the high point comes at the beginning of the second encore when at first just Yorke and guitarist Jonny Greenwood return to the stage for a mesmerizing rendition of "Give Up the Ghost," which features Yorke plucking an acoustic and harmonizing with himself via loops. From here, Radiohead indeed rips shit up, as promised, and closes out the night with Yorke doing his trademark bobblehead sway before embarking on another spastic sideways shuffle, from one side of the stage to the other, stopping long enough to bow briefly and then making his exit, as "Idioteque" devolves into a delightful heap of drones and squelches.

Page through for Critic's Notebook, Radiohead setlist, a short review of Other Lives' set from Tom Murphy, audio clips of Yorke's banter and more photos

Location Info

Map

1STBANK Center

11450 Broomfield Lane, Broomfield, CO

Category: Music


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35 comments
Askaticket
Askaticket

Yeah that show was fantastic and they perform really great hats off.

Yhorkie
Yhorkie

This was such an amazing show by a band that had become almost mythical for me, having never seen them LIVE before!  The two drummers never got in each others way from what I could tell.  Maybe not absolutely necessary to have two drummers, but it was very interesting and sounded tight.  Terrific review and media content, Mr. Herrera, Westword!  This is like a souvenir of the show... Thank You!!!!

Tomgenes
Tomgenes

this review is missing like one major point  How was the frickin music dude?  I mean lights and thom Yorke's outfit who gives a crap. its about the music and you give the music all of about two sentences

Dugish
Dugish

I wonder, Dave Herrera, are you aware that most Radiohead is "post OK-Computor"?  You make it sound as if those who fully appreciate or prefer "glitch-tastic" radiohead, which by your measure is 5/8 albums are like, not down with the old stuff..or somethin'.  One of the reasons I respect Radiohead so much is that they only tour when they have something new to say and play.  If they were to play half of "the bends" you're damn right I'd be disappointed.  I came to hear "king of limbs" which IS a fantastic album and as I always seem to say about new Radiohead, their best yet.  I think the reason they don't play a lot of pablo honey and the bends is that they simply don't feel like it.  Sorry bro.

Goodkarma05
Goodkarma05

Best show ever, so happy I got to go!

Colariz
Colariz

Last night was terrific, even though I'm more into their earlier stuff (only other time I saw them was the Bends tour in 1995). Kicking myself for agreeing to leave after the first encore, thinking it was the end... NEVER leave a show until the house lights come up! 

kk
kk

My 9th Radiohead show, and still as exciting, energetic and fun as the 1st. 

thedude02
thedude02

Great review for a great show.  My first time to see them after years of listening, and somehow outdid my expectations.  Separator was the highlight for me.

Watermelonkid
Watermelonkid

They added Hunting Bears to the end of The National Anthem...short guitar instrumental from Amnesiac. Not on setlist, but played.

Tybalt
Tybalt

Maybe I'm crazy, but I'm pretty sure Thom played Hunting Bears somewhere in the first third of the set...but don't see it on either set list.  Anyone else hear that?

Damon
Damon

Never seem 'em before. Pretty stunning. Could have used a little more energy in the beginning but it set up for an awesome close... particularly loved "Giving Up the Ghost", "Myxomatosis" and "Lucky"

Nice review, Dave

E Hough
E Hough

Absolutely fantastic evening with Radiohead.

swank79
swank79

Show was epic last night, still smiling this morning

backbeatmod
backbeatmod

First of all, thanks, Yhorkie, for reading and even more for the kind words. Secondly, mythical... I was searching for a way to describe the mystique and subsequent adoration that surrounds this band, and that about nails it.

backbeatmod
backbeatmod

wow. cheers to you, fine sir! thanks for stopping by.

backbeatmod
backbeatmod

It was Radiohead, Tom, which means the music was exceptional -- well, most of it. There were some moments that were marginal, but overall, it was what we've come to expect: The Greenwood's are gifted and imaginative musicians, Yorke's voice was in top form, O'Brien's harmonies were on point, and the drumming...well, like I said, there was one too many, in my book. But as far as the lights and Yorke's outfit -- dude, that's why I went to the show! I was there to see the band in the flesh, to experience the visuals, to feel the sound and vibrations and ultimately to witness mere mortals making magic. If it were merely about the music, I could've stayed at home and put on the records. Knowhatimsayin'? Thanks for reading, Tom, and for the feedback.

Patrick Quinby
Patrick Quinby

Did you read the same article I did?? He wasn't complaining at all.

Kelsey W.
Kelsey W.

Oh man, that's the worst! The encores were the strongest material of the night.

backbeatmod
backbeatmod

What were the other ones? Did you catch Red Rocks in 2001? What was the best one?

backbeatmod
backbeatmod

@350e91b5b6ce8248f69968ed26256581:disqus Oh yeah? What stood out about it to you? BTW, thanks for reading.

backbeatmod
backbeatmod

 Nice work, dudes. Didn't catch that. Great ears. Thanks for weighing in.

backbeatmod
backbeatmod

What Patrick said. While my favorite era of the band happens to be the mid to late '90s, that doesn't mean I'm not down with the new stuff. Actually, quite the opposite. By the same token, you do make a salient point. Since that was my favorite era, that's the prism by which I view the band. Vice versa in your case -- from what I gather, you were a bigger fan of the latter era. That said, you and I are on different planes, but ultimately, we're kinda making the same point. At any rate, thanks for reading and for taking the time to post a comment. Cheers.

Dugish
Dugish

That is some rookie sh!t. Who leaves while the lights are still down?!  I'm never in a hurry to leave a great show and go sit in post-show gridlock.

kk
kk

Sadly, I did not catch the 2001 show and it haunts me still. The shows I've seen include: Red Rocks 2003, Bonnaroo 2006, San Diego 2006, Hollywood Bowl (both nights) 2008, Lollapalooza 2008, Coachella 2010 (Atoms for Peace) Dallas 2012 (last week), Denver 2012.

kk
kk

That is a legitimate concern. And Coachella is really, really fun. Enjoy!

Jmpmk2
Jmpmk2

I went through processing hell for Coachella tickets, too, but finally obtained two.  I figured it was my best shot at finally seeing the band after missing out on the Denver show.  With my luck, the band would probably stop touring after this year or wait another ten years to come back.

backbeatmod
backbeatmod

That is a total bummer. Ah, well, what are you going to do? Happens. You should come to Showcase!

kk
kk

Doubtful. I had two ticket orders go thru, then get stuck in processing hell, and be subsequently canceled. I went the last 2 years, but it doesn't look like 2012 will happen. Total bummer, but I can't complain about seeing RH twice in 8 days.

kk
kk

Oh, and the best venue was Red Rocks, but the best show was Bonnaroo (me and 80,000 of my closest friends).

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