Saturday 21 October 2017

Radiohead at 3Arena review: 'There are few sights as raw and visceral in modern music as Thom Yorke's demented dancing for Idioteque'

Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

Exactly twenty years ago today, Radiohead played the largest show of their early career at the RDS in Dublin alongside Massive Attack. It rained cats and dogs that night. After the show, Thom Yorke went back to a Dublin hotel room and wrote a song entitled 'How to Disappear Completely' featuring the lyric "I float down the Liffey."

One day shy of twenty years later and Yorke and his band conclude a two and a half hour, twenty-five song set with that very same song from their 2000 album Kid A that became acclaimed as one of the finest albums of the 21st century so far. Opening with three songs from last year's A Moon Shaped Pool, the Oxford band immediately create a gorgeous soundscape and an absolutely dazzling light show.

'Airbag' from OK Computer, which also was released twenty years ago last week, receives an anniversary airing for anyone pining for the old stuff. Considering that tickets were snapped up in seconds and demand completely melted Ticketmaster, this is very much a show for the fans. A second date was rendered impossible due to the production demands of headlining Glastonbury this coming Friday.

The rumbling bass line of 'The National Anthem' bounces all over a delirious crowd in a packed to the gills 3Arena. They reach deep into the back catalogue locker for 'My Iron Lung' from their breakthrough album 'The Bends', followed by a divine version of 'All I Need' from In Rainbows, which is arguably Radiohead's most romantic song yet.

There are few sights as raw and visceral in modern music as Thom Yorke's demented dancing for 'Idioteque', an apocalyptic rave pop anthem about global warming and polar ice caps melting.

Radiohead play not just one, but two sets of encores, consisting respectively of five and three songs. 'Lotus Flower', 'Fake Plastic Trees' and the aforementioned 'How to Disappear Completely' form a terrific parting glass. The house lights go up and a gobsmacked crowd file out the door and float down the Liffey.

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