May 30, 2012
The show was solid. They’re a good band; they played (with two encores) for about two hours total. The light show (relying on multiple, moveable screens and two huge backdrops) was a technical marvel used to good effect, especially when the focus was on abstract patterns rather than shots of the band (though even those were cool).
Overall, the show made me think: If this is the kind of entertainment that our civilization has to offer, then it (Western Civ, that is) can’t be all bad.
From a musical standpoint, there were some moments of real transcendence, whether in the form of bass-heavy, Krautrock jams or extended, beat-heavy sound montages. For my tastes, however, there could have been more of these moments, or the moments themselves could have been greatly prolonged. Whenever it seemed like they were on the verge of taking things to another level, they would just end the song.
I’ll admit that I have a high tolerance for endless jams and I understand that that’s not everybody’s cup of tea. However, when you are a band as talented as Radiohead, and obviously have an at least latent tendency to indulge in this sort of music making, why not just go for it? I’ll tell you that Spiritualized does, and they’re awesome!