I could have sworn I saw a light coming on.
I’m not sure how to put into words what I experienced at the Radiohead concert on Saturday. Paste has many supremely talented music writers in NYC. (Hi Bonnie!) But because I’m a hardcore fan who was willing to spend a month’s salary on tickets the moment they went on sale, and because Atlanta was Radiohead’s second stop on a tour I’d been waiting over 10 years to see, cue freakout.
I love editing Paste’s Design and Visual Arts sections but I do not know how to write cleverly about music, to say nothing of capturing this iconic band on a stage towering above my head in spotlight-speckled darkness. I’ve visited the infinitely pleasurable sound of each complex Radiohead album too many times to count, but I still consider myself a lowly listener. Few things are more humbling than standing feet from Messrs. Jonny Greenwood, Ed O’Brien, Phil Selway (& friends…) and Thom Yorke, who did a joyful little dance for us all while rebuilding House of Cards. It moved me to tears. So many favorites were revisited, much to my delight and that of crowds in Miami, Atlanta and NOLA. But it is a lot easier to endure a spiritual experience than it is to describe one.
If you haven’t scored tickets yet and you aren’t planning a trip to Europe this summer to (probably) hear every great song from Burn The Witch to the crowd-singalong encore delight, Karma Police, you’ll have to imagine a foggy, color-soaked world and giant pool-shaped screen combining live feeds of each musician, saccharine psychedelic swirls, epileptic static and unfurling black holes. At one point, the crowd was mesmerized by a kaleidoscopic feed of Yorke’s blinking eyeball. There were some occasional timing and feedback issues, but each unexpected vibration and unusual frequency ringing out served as an ecstatic reminder to the crowds: Radiohead is here and so are you: everything in its right place.
Emily Ray is Paste’s Design & Visual Arts Editor.