As Wilder's Wonka famously stated:
"Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted."
"He lived happily ever after..."
If you happened to be at ACL Live on Tuesday night for the Radiohead television taping, you saw a young, handsome man up on the stairs after the show grinning like an idiot, joyously living happily ever after. That young man was yours truly. Let me explain:
Like many young people of my generation, this certain alt-rock group, has been something of a philosophy. In other words, a way for us to view the world around us. In many other ways, their discography has become somewhat of the soundtrack to my love-life, with each album tied specifically to memories around one girl in particular while the current album in it's release era was on repeat. Without saying, there are some fond memories and well, the not-so-fond memories. The point however, is that often a person becomes very attached to a certain song, album, or in this case, discography. When I heard that stadium regulars Radiohead would be playing the intimate Moody Theater, well, that's an opportunity that just can't be ignored. Thus began the wave of emotions...
With the excitement that comes from hope in winning the rare blog ticket for a taping, soon the rapid disappointment and acceptance that I didn't get lucky this time takes over (19K people entered!?, Holy sh#t!). Then to the hope and optimism of winning again after pledging to KRLU, again to the disappointment and begrudged acceptance of not winning yet again (got a sweet shirt though). Then finally to the hope and perseverance which led to tonight's random evening. It started innocently enough with a tip from a little "tweety" bird, which led me to chilling at Austin Java toting a fresh batch of Tiff's Treats, primed to spread the love. Meeting up with a couple buds, we chatted about my approach, before causally heading for the (likely) third round of disappointment. As I sat at the coffee shop, the once warm treats cooled, but thanks to a helpful employee of the local shop, a microwave soon solved that problem. The line dwindled to a small amount of space available seekers, but I headed straight past the line. To the top of the steps handing out cookies like it was Christmas, sans milk.
To my good fortune, warm cookies are a good omen, noted as every recipient exclaimed "OMG, they're still warm!" "What's this you ask? They're giving out space available tickets right now?" they said. "Sure, I'll take one. Thanks!" I retort, "Would you like a warm Tiff's Treat in return for your generosity?" Long story short, (too late) ACL volunteers rock. You should all know this by now.
Surprisingly easy as it was to snag a ticket, through the doors I sprinted, just in time for Terry Likona's welcome introduction. "Balcony tickets?! Nah, I'll try my luck on the floor." Tall people; you know what I mean. Anyway, onto the good part; Where I wet my pants in excitement and screamed like a little school girl at the emergence of the darkly-dressed sextet and the fluid opening notes of 'Bloom'. Little by little the audience realized that this intro was only the tip of the 'eargasm' of sound that exuded from the venue this cool evening. On a night when the ACL sound crew was in absolutely top form, the performers equaled that form without question or remorse. Every note from Jonny, Ed, and Colin, every snide or crude comment from Thom, and every drum stroke from Phil and Clive, was clear as crystal. It's really the only way to see a show of a band who prides itself on audio clarity and consistency. Consider tonight the merging of two worlds with matching ideals. The boys from Oxford played a majority of the tracks from the stunning latest release King of Limbs (which I loved, btw), including 'Little By Little', 'Morning Mr. Magpie', and the sexy and hypnotic 'Lotus Flower'. Colin's bass line on 'Lotus' truly could not have sounded any better. The show stopper for this reviewer, however, was 'Feral' and it's not even close. How a band can produce those sounds in a live setting is absolutely stunning in every way imaginable. Many people around began tending to me in fears of me having convulsions, but no, it was just the music pulsating through my limp body. I did appreciate the concern, however.
Other highlights included the web-release 'Staircase', the dynamic electro duo from HTTT, 'the Gloaming' and 'Myxamatosis', and 'There There' for good, solid measure. The latter was filled with so much emotion, I nearly found myself in tears. It's difficult to explain why a certain band, song, or moment in a song can do that to a person, but tonight 'everything (was) in it's right place'. 'Reckoner' and 'Weird Fishes/Arpeggi' gave the audience a taste of the (in) Rainbow(s), while the group took extra care to get the former right with a 'Take 2' about half way through. Smiles abounded from Ed to Colin to Jonny as they were truly enjoying the moment (and the relief) to show that they really were human after all. Shocking to think that they make mistakes, however I guarantee you no one in the audience would have noticed a slight mistake. It just goes to show how professional the band is in every element of their craft.
The rare inclusion of one of the extensive 'B-sides' in the Radiohead collection is something of a rite of passage. This evening was 'The Amazing Sounds of Orgy', which was fitting enough for how I felt overall on the night. New songs 'Identikit' and 'Skirting on the Surface' during the encore were pleasant inclusions for hard to please (yeah right) Radiohead faithful. While 'Idioteque' and 'Paranoid Android' finished off the set and encore, respectively.
Now, for the not surprising aspects of the evening:
2) Thom is an excellent dancer, I don't care what anyone says.
Ok, ok, have I convinced you yet that you really should be mad jelly if you couldn't make the show last night? Serves you right for not being in Austin or staying home and not trying to get in. It just goes to show that if you fail 3 times, try, try again. You never know Ladies, you might just end up 10' away from Ed O'Brien. Thanks to a little optimism, good timing, and a few helpful tips from a friend, my week went from, well, you know.