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Radiohead & Caribou played First Midwest Bank Ampitheater (pics)

photos by James Richards IV, words by Parker Langvardt

Radiohead @ First Midwest Bank Amphitheater on 6/10/2012
Radiohead

The lights dimmed to a purple glow around 8:30PM as pre-recorded vocals looped backwards. Radiohead strolled on stage, and drummers Phil Selway and Clive Deamer launched into a less choppy and more energetic “Bloom,” bringing out the latin elements of the song that aren’t as pronounced in The King of Limbs recording. Deamer was added to help bring the self-sampling album to life, and the band works together to make it more fluid, with alternate arrangements and jazzier rhythms and world music textures. Many of the Hail to the Thief and In Rainbows songs took on these elements too, making the concert very cohesive. Thom Yorke‘s unrestrained guitar and the additional percussion of Jonny Greenwood and Ed O’Brien gave “There There” a tribal feel. “The Amazing Sounds of Orgy,” which made its live debut in 2012, had more of a western shuffle within its haunting weirdness.

Earlier material tended to be more faithful to the original style, but Radiohead isn’t going to let a song go unaltered. Deep, funky tones broke through briefly in to the otherwise traditional “Kid A,” providing a bit of human touch to contrast the glockenspiel and Yorke’s robot vocal effects. After the locomotive pair “Staircase” and “Morning Mr. Magpie,” Yorke sang over the indistinct electronic beat of “The Gloaming,” which ended with Greenwood looping and chopping both elements. The intro of “Idioteque” took on a glitchier form before settling in, and the second verse had a heavy dance pulse.

The first encore featured the debut performance of a new song called “Full Stop,” and the recently debuted “Identikit” was a part of the second encore. Both songs are a departure from King of Limbs, but in very different directions; “Full Stop” has a frantic edge to it, while “Identikit” is more laid back. The first encore ended with “Everything in Its Right Place,” which had emerged from the introduction of R.E.M.‘s “The One I Love.” They appropriately closed with “Street Spirit (Fade Out),” the only song from The Bends that was performed.

The visuals throughout the show were incredible, with extremely high-definition screens that projected images of the band on stage. The screens also raised, lowered, and changed angles throughout the show, at one point turning into a canopy that pulsed light downward. Behind those were towering panels of LED lights that flashed flowing patterns.

Caribou opened, but due to the traffic jams that occur at these kind of venues we unfortunately missed their set. According to Yorke, it was “wicked.” It surely would have contrasted Radiohead’s set nicely with their warmer, more straightforward R&B feel.

It’s unfortunate that Radiohead has such a limited choice of venues due to the size of their audience, and that concert giant Live Nation owns or runs most of them. The ticket price is legitimate given the quality of the show, but I was initially surprised by the $40 price tag on their shirts, especially since it was surrounded by ridiculous food and beverage prices. It turns out that’s just about what Radiohead charges on W.A.S.T.E.; 2012 tour shirts are £25, or roughly $38 USD.

A full set of pictures from Radiohead’s set continue below. Check out their setlist HERE.

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