• Cheyenne Saturday - Richard Jessup
  • The Bloody Medallion - Richard Jessup writing as Richard Telfair
  • Chuka - Richard Jessup
  • The Cincinnati Kid - Richard Jessup
  • The Branch Will Not Break - James Wright
  • Roadmap Through Bullying: Effective Bully Prevention for Educators - Julie Nicolai
  • The Definitive Brother Juniper - Father Justin 'Fred' McCarthy
  • Portrait of an Artist with 26 Horses: Empty-Grave Vanilla Edition - William Eastlake
  • The Tales of Yot - Adam Nicolai
  • The Shaggy Man of Oz - Jack Snow
  • The Magical Mimics in Oz - Jack Snow
  • The Silver Princess in Oz - Ruth Plumly Thompson
  • Armchair Locomotion - Jen May
  • Grin and Bear It - George Lichty
  • The Strange World of Mr. Mum - Irving Phillips
  • Brother Juniper - Fr Justin McCarthy
  • Brother Juniper at Work and Play - Fr Justin McCarthy
  • Brother Juniper Strikes Again - Fr Justin McCarthy
  • Battle Cry - Jen May
  • Inside Brother Juniper - Fr Justin McCarthy
  • More Brother Juniper - Fr Justin McCarthy
  • Well Done, Brother Juniper - Fr Justin McCarthy
  • The Whimsical World of Brother Juniper - Fr Justin McCarthy
  • The Ecumenical Brother Juniper - Fr Justin McCarthy

So I Saw: Radiohead 6/10/2012 @ First Midwest Bank Ampitheater, Tinley Park, IL

by Fratto on June 17, 2012

Though I have been a Radiohead fan for thirteen years, since 1999, I have never been to a Radiohead show before, something I had always sought to remedy, I wouldn’t miss this for anything, even the long drive, and the fact that my next day begins at 5:00am.

Radiohead: June 10, 2012 setlist. (You can listen to the songs via this website too)

The Show: From the stellar 24-song setlist to the vibrant LED lighting apparatus and twelve moving screens the show was as amazing as I had hoped for. Thom Yorke is the focal point for the whole show, as he spreads himself across a fantastic range of moods and styles. Always transitioning between guitar and keyboards, and if engaged with neither, he gyrates, shimmies, and boogies while he sings his heart out. The other members on stage simply do their thing, always a presence but not the focus. The dual percussionists, consisting of the band’s drummer Phil Selway, and the new addition on this tour, Clive Deamer (plays with Portishead) positioned on either side of the bassist Colin Greenwood, are engaging for the whole show as well. The two other guitarists, Ed O’Brien and Jonny Greenwood, remain on each side of the stage providing backing vocals, and other various instrumentation. The complexity of many of the songs is amazing to witness when performed live. I simply must try to see them every time they come around from now on. I had heard they were playing a few songs I just adore, “Paranoid Android”, “Pyramid Song”, and “Where I End and You Begin (The Sky is Falling In)” this time out, but they did not play them tonight. Totally doesn’t matter though because we got the full songlist from King of Limbs (2011), two new songs—”Identikit” and “Full Stop” which got its live debut tonight, and the show closer “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” from as far back as the band’s second album The Bends (1995). This vid is from the night after (it has a better view I think).
I thought I could help my faulty memory by bringing my voice recorder and call out the setlist, but I assumed I would never get it into the place. So I brought a notepad. Holy crap, not only were my entries wrong, but they were illegible and for the most part written all over each other. I didn’t even notice the first encore. I swear only Thom left the stage and it was for about thirty seconds. I hooted my head off for the second encore though. This was an amazing experience for me. I was surprised we could get tickets for this and I would say for anyone who is a fan of this band, get to see them live.

The Venue: The experience at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheater was excellent. I would imagine it may vary from act to act, but Radiohead fans seem a most laid back, and non-raucous bunch. In the VIP area, and throughout the venue, every employee I encountered or had any conversation with was exceedingly friendly, polite, and seeming to be enjoying themselves. The VIP bathrooms look like a large port-a-potty, but they are very nice inside with finished walls, and a sink with running water, I wasn’t expecting anything like that so it was a nice addition to the experience. Other than the sound up in the second level skybox, and the prices of refreshments, I have zero complaints about the place.

The Drive: Was nothing. 75 miles, straight shot, no traffic.

The Value: The skyboxes are a little too high and far away for the high price of these seats. Our box was the highest and farthest over to the left of the stage before you can’t see the stage anymore. This may have something to do with the muddy sound quality. When I hear the sound quality of the videos taken of the night, “Full Stop” in particular, it’s clear the acoustics all the way up on top and to the side are very muffled. I couldn’t understand one word Thom Yorke said all night. If I was unfamiliar with Radiohead, I wouldn’t have been able to differentiate much from song to song. I realize seeing Radiohead is expensive regardless of where the seat is, but I won’t try to see them anywhere but on the main floor from now on.

Some extra commentary: I gave this show a few days to percolate, and I am glad I did. My interest in Radiohead waned a touch after the 2000 release of Kid A, and sadly, it was for superficial reasons. Luckily, things don’t go away just because I think I don’t like them anymore. I shallowly surmised that OK Computer (1997) was the band’s pinnacle, and they should embrace it as such. I still dutifully purchased their new albums as soon as humanly possible. On October 10, 2007, I charged to their website with furious glee to purchase In Rainbows, and pay what I thought it was worth—I was immeasurably flattered by this daring gesture and gracious opportunity from such a creative group of people whom I respected greatly enough already. Here in Chicago, I remember the old days of the Annoyance Theater and their production of “Co-ed Prison Sluts” when they let you in to see it for free, and you paid what you thought the play was worth on the way out. Well, at the Radiohead website, I must have gotten my currency conversion tables confused, and while in my head I thought, “Shit, I’m going to make their day,” and pay something crazy like $20 for In Rainbows, an extra thank you right into the band’s deserving little hands—damn straight! Oh and from the mountaintops did I brag—until I saw my credit card bill… Wait for it—how much do you think?—nope, more—I paid $45 bucks for In Rainbows! After a brief “holy shit” moment, I was still pleased as pie, and tremendously thrilled to be part of their experiment.

I know I liked Kid A, but it was weird. Its electronic notions were cool and it helps that I like a lot of Brian Eno, in particular his ambient stuff (compare Ambient 4: On Land (1982) with “Treefingers”), so I could appreciate this more experimental approach, you know, briefly. Now with Amnesiac (2001), an extension of Kid A, and then Hail to the Thief (2003) I had the feeling the band had gone too far from what I thought I liked about them. I dismissed the albums, and I am irritated by my shortsightedness. Both Nicolai and I kept saying to each other, “Maybe they’ll just grow on us.” I don’t remember exactly when it was that I realized how much I loved Amnesiac, and Hail to the Thief, my guess is around late 2005. I’d call that a huge amount of wasted time when the treasure is sitting right in your lap! So the real point to all of this is, upon seeing Radiohead live, I have a whole new and much stronger perspective on them and what they have done. I can be as hard on myself as I want about my lack of vision, but from here on out I know how to view this band, and it is a wonderful feeling. It would be easy for fans to say that King of Limbs is another Thom Yorke solo album (check out The Eraser (2006), it is awesome!), but when an artist’s voice is so indelible from an already passionate mindset, irrational comparisons are inevitable. This could be perhaps a whole separate article.

In the last few days, I have tried to play catch-up on my time of dismissal by immersing myself in everything I can find by Radiohead, and have come out of it with an appreciation for an artist I haven’t felt in a long time.

Here’s to many more years of new stuff from Radiohead!

Fratto 6 14 12

P.s. 6 16 12

Well wishes to all involved with the tragedy tonight in Canada. What a terrible set of circumstances.

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