Radiohead kicked off their tour supporting The King of Limbs in Miami and crept in to Tampa on February 29th. The show felt like an intimate performance because it was the first time I’d seen them indoors. Once dedicated to playing only under the stars in destination settings like festivals and amphitheatres, Radiohead is embarking on a mostly arena tour. The show was undersold leaving tons of room on the floor to maneuver close to the band. At first I was astonished that the biggest band in the world – Gen X and Gen Y’s U2 – drew such a small crowd but some of it had to do with group’s desire to keep their shows modest. There was no excuse for the semi-lackluster energy in the crowd. Maybe because it was Tampa, maybe because it was a weekday? I’m not too sure.
The setlist was crafted to support the latest album which seems to have a polarizing affect on fans with critiques that range from genius to meh. I think the live performance really brought King of Limbs to life. The show opened with the dreamy, frenetic keyboard sequence of “Bloom” which slid into the charging slunk of “Little by Little.” Other songs that seem so electronic on the album like “Staircase” and “Feral” sizzle as the band comes together working on any combination of instruments. Radiohead is mesmerizing on their records, but live – aided by some of the best lighting in the business – they are a powerfully original rock band.
“Lotus Flower” which took some time to get used to is really standing out in concert and aided by the addition of a second drummer (journeyman Clive Deamer) typifies the rhythm heavy approach of the last two albums.
They busted out “Meeting in the Aisle” for the first time ever on this tour.
In Rainbows, Weird Fishes / Apreggi is another song that takes on a new soul in concert.
The band played with classics like “Idioteque,” “Everything in its Right Place,” a swirling “Myxamatosis,” and ended with a one-two punch of “Karma Police” and “Street Spirit (Fade Out).” They were missing some straight up guitar rockers like “My Iron Lung” and “Paranoid Android” but the setlist possessed a certain flow that made it feel like a different kind of show.