Radiohead announced they were finally touring Australia again, just before I left the country to travel Europe. Radiohead have always been up there on my ‘must see live before I die” list, so after I was annoyed as soon that I would miss out on their Australian gig, I jumped online to check if any European tour dates were still available. With Switzerland still on sale, I didn’t hesitate and grabbed two tickets.
I had a fairly flexible itinerary during my European travels, so when Radiohead postponed their Switzerland date, I just took note that when they rescheduled I would get myself back to Switzerland (I obviously still went to Switzerland even though Radiohead had postponed).
Their rescheduled date was in late September, when I would be in London. Again, not hesitating, I immediately bought return flights to Switzerland from London and slept easily knowing that I will, one day, see Radiohead perform live.
The build up to the gig was a bit weird, as back in Melbourne, you would be discussing with your friends “oh awesome is this going to be” and even be checking setlists online. I will admit I did get a smirk on my face when coffee shop barista’s did the old “what are you up to this weekend?” and I would answer with “oh you know, just going to Switzerland to see Radiohead.” Yeah, I probably sounded like a bit of a muppet but I didn’t care in the slightest.
My friend and I left for Switzerland the night before the country. Even though I had already been, I hadn’t been to the capital Bern before, where we would catch the bus to the concert. Since the trip had been so much “Radiohead” focused, it was a nice surprise to just take in and realise I was in Switzerland, one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
After a two hour bus trip through Swiss landscapes, we finally arrive at this so called “Quarry” way out in the middle of nowhere. Not long to go now, an item off my bucket list was now just hours away from being crossed off.
The next following two hours was nothing short of amazing. At first I was a bit surprised at Thom Yorke sporting a ponytail, but once their screen show reached full flight you were left mesmerised.
A few thoughts from the show:
- I always underestimate drumming, especially when bands perform live. Phil Selway was absolutely phenomenal and kept the pulse going throughout the entire evening. Phil, combined with Colin (who did a lot of drum patch work) and their second drummer (who actually looked like Phil), meant that Radiohead’s drum spine live was about 10x the experience you’d get through their records.
- I’m a massive fan of the early Radiohead records which were more guitar based. I’m obviously a fan of their later electronic based stuff too, but their older albums hold a special place in my heart as it’s what got me into the band. Having said that, their performances of their electronic based music live, such as “Idioteque” and “Everything in its Right Place” was technically and musically brilliant.
- Their earlier less electronic music, such as Paranoid Android, lacked the extra punch than their electronic hits. Maybe it’s because it’s not as technical to pull off live, or because they are just a bit tired of playing those songs. (Thom actually stuffed up Paranoid Android, sang the wrong part of the song before correcting himself!).
- Colin Greenwood has always made me laugh a bit, as he was the bass player and his younger brother Johnny kinda came into the band and became guitarist wonderkid / songwriter. I loved watching Colin trigger all the synths / beats / effects with a smile on his face that I could only think says “Yeah Johnny, look at me now!”