Radiohead What Stage, Manchester TN June 8
Published Jun 12, 2012Undoubtedly one of the most anticipated performances of the weekend, Radiohead's Friday night headlining slot failed to disappoint in any way. From the second the lights came on to reveal a dozen or so constantly shifting screen panels suspended above the band and "Bloom" began, Thom Yorke and co. had the massive audience hanging on to every note.
As most people expected, the set drew primarily from the latter half of the band's catalogue, favouring In Rainbows and 2011's The King of Limbs, which only made the older material that much more exciting. Standouts included "Kid A," "15 Step," "There There" and obvious crowd pleaser "Karma Police," while newer songs like "The Daily Mail" and "Staircase" also made appearances.
Yorke's voice was in prime form, even as he thrust his wiggling body back and forth across the giant stage. Banter was sparse, but usually hilarious, like when Yorke introduced his piano to the crowd and asked them to say hello before launching in to the aforementioned "The Daily Mail." The frontman's inner comedian came out again when he asked about where everyone slept, joking, "In a field? Face down in the mud?" He continued to inform Bonnaroo of a quintessential British festival tradition: "Take acid, face down in the mud, ring your parents the following Wednesday."
All joking aside, Radiohead's set was undeniably the best of the headliners, blending an extravagant lighting and stage setup with unbelievable live performances from everyone on stage. Fans seemed to agree, as the band came out for an encore that featured a gorgeous rendition of "You and Whose Army?" and the now much-buzzed-about dedication of "Supercollider" to Jack White (who the band had apparently met up with earlier in the weekend).
Not satisfied with ending there, Radiohead emerged for a second encore, playing "Give Up the Ghost" and "Reckoner" before bidding the audience farewell and bringing down the festival with the ever-epic "Paranoid Android." When the insane flurry of frenzied lights finally burnt out and the sound was cut, Radiohead left everyone talking about their two-hour-plus set for the rest of the weekend.