NME review of Radiohead at V.
"Now this could go either way. Radiohead are the band of two halves. For their stadium noir rock years they dolloped out brooding, standard setting Krakaton classics - among the best ever written. But for their Electronic Ennui years thewy've downloaded occasionally inspiring, largely tuneless and dreary "sound experiments" that suggest they set a laptop to Wibble and Wail-setting in 1999, then went down the oub for 7 years. Now after a blip-heavy theatre tour, they arrive at V, promising "hits" which could be "The Bends" in its entirety, or every 10th song actually having a chorus.
Unable to completely drop their obstreporous musical adventurism and just bash out the big bangers, they find themselves making an awkward headline set compromise. From a band who have so dramatically somersaulted between genres, any festival set will seem disjointed, but for the first hour, Radiohead struggle with their own historical demons. Between classics ("Airbag", "My Iron Lung", "No Surprises", "The Bends") that too often whimper when they should bang, we get stark electronica with aimless wailing instead of a tune ("2+2=5" and "The Gloaming", with Thom doing a Peter Crouch on PCP dance), the odd bit of jazzy moaning (Nude), a one chord drone through "National Anthem" that sounds like Primal Scream tuning up; and "Pyramid Song", during which 20 suicides are reported in the front row. And at twhat point do you get so far up your own ego's arse that you think "I know! I'll play a lacklustre mumble with amild bit of semi-rocking at the end called "You and Whose Army" and not play "Creep" and everyone will love it"? Big props though, to the bloke at the front though who when Thom announces "our third new song", optimistically shouts "wun-two-free-fowar!" Thom, surprisingly doesnt find it funny.
Then through a cloud busting "Lucky" the stadium rock god genes embedded in Radiohead's spinal stem kick in and for 30 minutes we're in hedonism heaven. An exhilirating "Idioteque" - proof as is the encore's "There There" that when Radiohead's genre splicing experimentalism works, it verges on the revolutionary - follows the mighty pop kick of "Just" while "street Spirit" soars and sizzles like a plane full of snakes. "Karma Police" wipes clean all the bewilderment over Thom's wild punk rantings during "A WOlf At The Door" and then, oh yes, they do "Creep", and knowing which side the bread is buttered, they do it joyously.
An obstinately obtruse first hour gives way to the Greatest Hits in the Sky: a triumph of crowd pleasing over crowd teasing. Hail to the creep."
HA HA HA.