Friday, May 16, 2008

Sorry, We're All Out of Rainbows

The opening band sucked. They played forty-five minutes of unintelligible pretentious art-rock anthems while the lead singer gyrated behind the microphone. And if you were just about to make a comment about me just describing Radiohead, let me say that you are a tool.

And then the headliner started. Perhaps my favorite band ever, whom I have seen twice now.

The set opened with "All I Need", one of the moodier tracks off the weird-guitar-heavy "In Rainbows". They actually played every single song off "In Rainbows". They even played "Bangers + Mash", the notable B-side associated with "In Rainbows". For a band with seven albums out, it's a bit unusual to play every single track off the latest disc, but whatever. I like "In Rainbows", but I like most of their other albums more. I adore "Reckoner" and "Faust Arp". I can do without "House of Cards". Mostly, I didn't like that so many of my favorites had been culled from the herd since they toured supporting "Hail to the Thief". That album and "OK Computer" were the hardest hit, I'd say. Gone were "2+2=5" and "Climbing Up the Walls". Oh well.

The quotation marks are starting to grate, so I'm dropping them forthwith.

From Kid A: Everything in it's Right Place, Kid A, Optimistic, and a pretty sad rendition of Idiotheque.

From Hail to the Theif: There There, Myxomatisos, and The Gloaming, which is one of my favorite songs and one that they've fucked up both times I've seen them.

From Amnesiac: Pyramid Song and You and Whose Army. That's it. So many great cuts from that album, and they played just those two. Tragic.

From OK Computer: Exit Music (For a Film), Airbag, and their show-closer, Paranoid Android. Which, I will admit, rocked.

From The Bends: a schizophrenically tempo'd rendition of My Iron Lung and the obligatory run through Fake Plastic Trees. Gag a maggot.

Nothing, of course, from Pablo Honey.

I'm not complaining. At this point, I'm cataloging, but that's just the thing, I don't have a profound opinion of the show. I know, it's not really constructive writing and certainly wouldn't constitute a "review" (dammit, me with the quotes again), but it's my blog and if you don't want to read it, click back over to lolcats. It's just that I went to see a juggernaut band that I esteem greatly and I just feel a little let down at the end of it (they didn't play Let Down either, now that I think about it... or Just). It was two-hours-plus of listening to a band attempt to recreate their songs. There was nothing interpretive. The light show wasn't that impressive.

Or maybe it was, we just couldn't tell because we were so far off to the fucking side!

This is what's pissing me off. I lax'd around and got tickets after they'd been on sale for a while for Chili Peppers, Incubus, and NIN (back in LA), had less-than-prime seats and still got to see a great show. I sit on Ticketmaster and try to get the best tickets as soon as they're available for Tool or Radiohead, and I get stiffed--I end up paying $75 a pop for nose-bleeders so I can try and see a show from behind some idiot's camera phone. If there is a way to get good tickets, I don't know what it is. I don't know whose dog you have to fellate to get a seat under the canopy, but if you're paying upwards of $50 to squeeze your ass into an itty-bitty chair...

You can't connect to an artist that way--and that's the point of going to a concert. If all you want is to hear the music, BitTorrent is fucking free. And don't get me wrong. I like concerts. But I can go to Dresden Dolls and see a spectacle (a spectacle that features the best drummer ever, ever, by the way) or I can go to Vienna Teng and get an intensely intimate experience and still afford a beer when I'm there.

And speaking of beer!!!! During the aural abortion that was the opening act (who's name I dare not utter here, lest someone attempt to Google them and unwittingly increase their pagerank), rather than continue the assault on my senses, I decided to get a beer. A beer is $9. Okay, I get it, it's a concert. You pay amusement park prices. I'm fine with that. Well, I'm not, but I've come to accept it. Well, it turns out that there are no glass containers or bottle caps allowed in the venue because they can be used as projectiles. WTF? First off, I paid for tickets, so there's no possible way I'm within throwing distance. Second, what kind of damage can you do with a bottle cap that you can't do with a plastic bottle? Third through fifteenth, how is this anything other than a ploy to charge $9 for beer!!!!!?

I was low on cash, so I hopped over to the ATM, a venture that took up most of the opening act's set. I shit you not. By the time I finally got up the front, I saw that it would cost me $3.50 to take money out. Okay, whatever. I've seen worse. I get home and check my statement to see that not only has the ATM charged me $3.50, but the bank charged me $2 for using a non-BOA ATM. And because I had the audacity to check my balance before pulling money out, they charged me twice. Makes me want to burn down their offices strongly consider moving my money elsewhere.

So the beer that was overpriced at $9 ended up costing me $16.50, all told. And while it was a good beer, it wasn't that good. And that sums it up for me. It was a good show, but it wasn't $75 good--not this time at least. There was one unintended pleasantry, however.

Radiohead (and MTV) are trying to take a stand against Human Trafficking. According to Radiohead (and MTV), human trafficking is the second most lucrative illegal trade behind drugs, but they hope to spread awareness via the cunning use of pamphlets at concerts and an exclusive video for "All I Need". This will surely stem the tide. After seeing this video, I can't imagine that anyone in an impoverished nation would want to stuff themselves into a container ship because of the promise of work in a sweatshop. Thank you Radiohead (and MTV).

First off, I want to know where they got there numbers. According to other sources whose background is more reputable in the statistics world than "we used to air videos in the 80's", arms and black-market antiquities are the big illegal markets behind drugs. Second, if human trafficking is that lucrative, then I'm going to need some venture capital. Seriously, we'll start local. We can go to the deep south, find closet gay males and sell them as personal shoppers to Manhattanites. We can learn about the market that way and get some revenue while we save up for a container ship!

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1 comment:

Joshua Holt said...

I was at the show with you and had a bit of a different experience (being one of those lucky ones under the canopy). Having seen them a few times live, I agree with your criticism about the size of the venue. They're touring three continents this tour and trying to allow as many people to see them as possible, because as you well know there are plenty of people out in the lawn that probably loved the show!

Second, I'd tell you that in order to get the good tickets you should buy them during the w.a.s.t.e pre-sale. They're the merchandising arm of Radiohead and if you google them, you'll find their webpage and ticket sales.

Finally, if you care to see some of the videos we made, check out the photos and reviews:

http://mel.opho.be/index.php/articles/radiohead-st.-louis.html