Monday, May 19, 2008

green plastic watering can

Last night was the Radiohead show at the Center. The venue was sold out, meaning 20,000 people came to see Radiohead play. I don't know why this surprises me, but the first time I saw the band it was in a very small venue 11 years ago, very intimate. The second time was 10 years ago at Fair Park Music Hall, still no where the size of last night's gig. Luckily, we had seats near the front this time, about 15 rows back from the pit. After the Liars finished their set, I started getting that tingling feeling you only get when you see one of your favorite artists play live. It's been a while since I've felt that (Paul McCartney, 2004?).

The stage was simple, industrial, with about 70 hanging light bars of varying heights that would flash and pulsate. Five simple, almost fuzzy video screens were set up behind the band, sometimes showing Colin's shoe and other times Thom belting into the mike. It was random, but it made for a nice presentation. They opened their 25-song set with "All I Need" from In Rainbows and proceeded to play every song from that album, with bits from Kid A sprinkled between. It was an amazing set, and I almost forgot how disappointed I was that they had yet to play something from The Bends or OK Computer. But the first song into encore #1 was "Fake Plastic Trees," and I was so excited that I started jumping up and down. They also chimed in with "The Bends," "Exit Music" and "Paranoid Android." So I was a very happy girl by the time we left, sweaty and tired, at midnight.

I did find it funny that this band, who's always had this aversion to fame, played such a large venue. Perhaps they've gotten used to the notion of being in the spotlight. But the set still felt intimate, despite the fact there were thousands of screaming people -- most of them kids. There were so many young people around me, who strangely seemed to know every single word to the new songs from In Rainbows. But as soon as they would hear something from The Bends, these same kids would collapse into their seats. I guess it says something about my age. I kept wondering, as I watched these 40-year-old rock stars on stage, rock stars that a once-19-year-old-me worshipped and loved, am I still this indie-music-loving kid? A kid going on 30? Or am I a young professional whose concert-going days seem long lost? Or somewhere between? Suddenly, I don't know anymore...

But I do know that Radiohead is still just as amazing as they were 10 years ago, perhaps more. And despite the fact that I was exhausted today at work, almost falling asleep trying to edit magazine articles, I wouldn't change a thing. I would see them again tonight if they were in town.
(Excuse the blurry shot. It was taken with Justin's Blackberry.)


Mark said...

is there any large music venue or sports arena in Dallas that isn't named after a company or product? American Airlines, Dr. Pepper, Superpages. come on, have some creativity and at least give them some kind of interesting name. Remember the Starplex and Reunion Arena? Even Irving Stadium was better than Dr. Pepper stadium or center or arena or whatever it is.

Heather said...

Yes, Starplex is now Center. Before that, it was Smirnoff. I guess everything is for sale these days.