Monday, May 12, 2008

"Rain Down, Rain Down": Radiohead at Nissan Pavilion. May 11th 2008

I’d become so accustomed to standing up in mud that every step on a solid surface sent a jarring shock to my ankles and knees.

The previous sentence was not lifted from an account of trench warfare during World War I. This was a description from last night’s Radiohead concert at Nissan Pavilion.

When I looked at the weather forecast, I knew that there was going to be rain. What I didn’t realize was that it was going to be a non-stop torrential downpour. Within minutes of handing in my ticket, I was soaked to the bone. My shoes were waterlogged, my thermal undershirt soggy, and my Lacoste rain jacket useless. When Liars took the stage at approximately 7:30pm, the rain had let up slightly, but a massive chill had come over my body. I was shivering so hard, I had to bite my tongue to keep my teeth from chattering.

When Thom Yorke and company finally took to the stage, I felt a tremendous sigh of relief. Not to say that Liars were no good. (On the contrary, they put up a pretty decent show, given the size of the crowd. Moreover, I loved their pre-show music. I believe it was North African, perhaps downloaded from Awesome Tapes from Africa?). But alas, I digress; I was here to see how Radiohead would pull off their songs live. I’ve been listening to this band since high school, and I’ve welcomed each new sonic direction they’ve taken. Seeing them live, however, has always proved elusive. Either I couldn’t get tickets or I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But listening to countless bootlegs and watching Grant Gee’s Meeting People is Easy, I knew that one day it would be totally worth it. And, if you ignore all the drama I described above, it was. Visually, this was one of the most well thought out shows I’d seen in a very long time. Even from the edge of the lawn, I could see the beautiful details of the hanging lights and video screens. As per the band’s performance. they were tremendous. They cherry picked songs from every album since The Bends and played the fuck out of them. When I concentrated hard enough, I actually forgot that I had lost nearly all feeling in my right foot.

SET LIST (Thanks to Chip from Brightest Young Things)
All I Need
Jigsaw Falling Into Place
15 Step
Pyramid Song
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
Faust Arp
Paranoid Android
Everything In Its Right Place
Bangers + Mash

Like Spinning Plates
Karma Police (This is when we left)
Go Slowly
Planet Telex
Fake Plastic Trees
The National Anthem
House of Cards

When I finally got into the car and took off my soaked shirt. I was relieved, sort of. It would be nearly an hour before we left the Nissan parking lot, but at least we had HEAT. My experience certainly doesn’t make me think any less of Radiohead. But I will probably never attend another outdoor, festival style concert again. And my heart goes out to all the people who a) sat in traffic even longer than I did and b) those who didn’t even make it to the show due to washed out roads and horrendous traffic.


Anonymous said...

Caitlin and I turned around when we heard 66 west (the only blasted way into the god forsaken shit hole) was flooding. I couldn't imagine the traffic at that point and so we decided to bite the bullet. We wouldn't have made it in from what I've heard, but we hope you enjoyed the show. -Greg

MELISSA said...

holy shit that's quite the setlist. i fucking HATE going to shows in the rain. i just can't do it anymore.

Fernanda said...

It ended up that I was stuck in traffic for more than three hours and sadly missed the first 20 or so minutes (which was really upsetting because I really wanted to watch them perform 15 steps and weird fishes).
That being said, I'm grateful that i made it and only missed 20 minutes.
i think that the rain added to the whole experience, it was surreal, they were phenomenal. I daydream about it--i wish i was still dancing in the rain. It was freezing and i might have ruined my jacket as well (and my boots which are still full of mud), but unquestionably worth it.

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