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Search The Line of Best Fit

Radiohead – Victoria Park, London, 25/06/08

03 July 2008, 13:27 | Written by Charley Caines

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Armed with my ticket, and what little cash I had to spend on beer and merchandise, I marched with the other 40,000 Radiohead fans onto Victoria Park to see the band return with a performance of their number one album In Rainbows.

Whilst waiting for support act, Bat for Lashes, to emerge the crowd speculated in the sweltering sunshine as to how the light show would fair in the blazing daylight. Huge wind chime like rods were being drawn across the stage-money well spent if the sun actually goes down.

Finally Natasha Khan arrives, rain stick in hand and ready to set the tone. Although generally well received, it really did need to be dark for her to work her magic on the crowd. It also didn’t help that the screens were not even switched on during her performance, Nevertheless she still managed to wow us with the airing of new material and familiar tracks such as ‘What’s a Girl to Do’ and ‘Priscilla’.

Then at 8.15pm, fifteen minutes earlier than last night’s performance, Johnny, Thom, Phil, Colin and Ed took to the stage with smiles all round. ‘Reckoner’ made an odd but well received opener, followed by ’15 Step’ and ‘There There’, which was strangely anthemic as Greenwood pounded the drums.

It’s apparent from the off that the band are not only tighter than ever but thrilled to be touring again. Thom remarks about the sun and it’s reluctance to sink behind the trees so the lights can be used. However this is perhaps a blessing in disguise as they then burst into ‘Lucky’ with the audience reciting back “Its gona be a glorious day” with the sun doing what it does best right on que.

The first half of the set showcased In Rainbows and Kid A with ‘National Anthem’ whipping the crowd into a frenzy. ‘Everything In It’s Right Place’, with its gradual build, receives some knowing nods and some of the best Thom Yorke impressions I’ve ever seen, and some of the worst.

Thom’s falsetto vocals soar with ‘Nude’, utterly pitch perfect and enigmatic as always, continuing to wow throughout ‘Videotape’ and ‘Optimistic’. This morphed into a melodic snarl for ‘Myxamatosis’.

Surprise tracks such as the relatively unknown ‘Bangers And Mash’ still managed to make an impact with Thom hammering the drums centre stage whilst Johnny delivered an amazing guitar solo. The band then lulled us into a nostalgic state with ‘No Surprises’ before moving on to ‘The Bends’ and then ‘My Iron Lung’, guitar thrashing all round.

The encores were a return to Ok Computer and with old favourites, ‘Paranoid Android’ causing a riot amongst the crowd. ‘Karma Police’ was the key moment of the night as the audience chanted back “For a minute there I lost myself”, driven with Thom on an acoustic guitar it really was a moment. They then sent a rapturous and satisfied crowd home with ’2+2=5′. Perfect

Will they ever fail to impress and amaze, I doubt it.

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