Radiohead 7/27/16

(a) setlist

    1. Burn The Witch
    2. Daydreaming
    3. Decks Dark
    4. Desert Island Disk
    5. Ful Stop
    6. My Iron Lung
    7. Climbing Up The Walls
    8. Morning Mr. Magpie
    9. Pyramid Song
    10. Bloom
    11. Identikit
    12. The Numbers
    13. The Gloaming
    14. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
    15. Everything In Its Right Place
    16. Idioteque
    17. There There

Encore 1:

  1. Give Up The Ghost
  2. Let Down
  3. Present Tense
  4. Planet Telex
  5. Karma Police

Encore 2:

  1. Reckoner
  2. Creep

(b) highlights

  • Two nights in a row of Radiohead, I don’t deserve this life
  • I’VE BEEN WAITING LIKE 10 YEARS TO FINALLY HEAR “KARMA POLICE” AND THEY FINALLY PLAYED IT LIVE, WAHHHH
  • Looooooooooooool, Christ Almighty they played “Creep” live. Nope. First time they played it in the U.S. in 12 years. I was laugh-crying throughout the whole thing
  • The same way “No Surprises” made me feel really emotional the night before, “Climbing Up The Walls” totally wrecked me at this show
  • Dayummm, “There There” sounds so good live; Ed O’Brien on those drums alongside Phil Selway was top notch
  • the energy of the entire set felt just a few notches above the previous night; both the setlist and crowd felt more adventurous and alive
  • Thom chatted a bit more to the audience, mostly saying mundane things that ended up feeling moving and profound just because Thom Yorke was saying them (e.g. “Everything will be better when we wake up. But we need to wake up.”)
  • have I mentioned Thom Yorke’s dancing?? Because his dancing needs to be mentioned.

(c) lowlights

  • I’m just going to quietly say that we might not have needed so many songs from King of Limbs and maybe could’ve gotten “Talk Show Host” or “True Love Waits” but REALLY this show was amazing and I will not be complaining when half of New York couldn’t even get tickets

(d) overall thoughts

Is seeing the same band two nights in a row at the same venue ever necessary? What a dumb ass question that is, first of all, and second of all, the setlist for Radiohead’s second night at Madison Square Garden might as well be a work of art. I initially wasn’t planning on going to this show, but fate brought me back to that arena and I know it’s because it was finally time for me to hear my favorite Radiohead song of all time: “Karma Police.” Yeah, it might be basic, but oh well. I don’t care.

Just like the night before, Radiohead didn’t hold back any emotional punches when it came to crafting their performance. The lighting was just as eerie, the songs just as touching, and the sound was just as perfectly played. Thom appeared a bit looser, a bit more relaxed, and nearly undetectable string of energy felt like it was vibrating through the crowd all night. Each song felt like a set piece or episodic chapter in a larger story; the narrative played out quite well. “Climbing Up The Walls” was freaking phenomenal, “My Iron Lung” was such a treat, “Weird Fishes” felt like it floated around the whole arena without ever touching down while “There There” pounded its way right through the core of everyone, and I can’t even begin with the encore.

The pairing of “Let Down” with “Present Tense” and then “Planet Telex” with “Karma Police” felt like it was designed to destroy me in the best way possible. I know I’ll never forget that feeling of being all the way up in the rafters and overlooking the band and crowd and just singing with every fiber of me, “For a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myseeeellllff.” God. What magic. It felt like the whole crowd had become a single tingling being by the time “Reckoner” ended that I feel like I don’t even remember being present when “Creep” started. Thom said into the mic, “Well, this is show business” just before the opening notes began and it was suddenly so hard for me to not laugh. Not in a funny way, but in a “Wow, I cannot believe this is actually happening right now and not some strange dream.” You know a show is good when you go from feeling pure excitement to profound sadness followed by total elation and unbelievable shock in a 10-minute span. What a show, what a night, what a band, what a life.

Bottom line: There’s no other band in the world like Radiohead and I hope there never is one like them again. Because we don’t deserve it. I don’t deserve it. But man, I can’t help but enjoy it.

 

*Bonus Material: I took several videos of the night and they’re mostly of Thom’s dancing and me scream-singing-crying, but this bit of “Creep” was salvageable:

 

Radiohead 7/26/16

(a) setlist

    1. Burn The Witch
    2. Daydreaming
    3. Decks Dark
    4. Desert Island Disk
    5. Ful Stop
    6. Lotus Flower
    7. The National Anthem
    8. 15 Step
    9. No Surprises
    10. Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief
    11. Separator
    12. Planet Telex
    13. The Numbers
    14. 2 + 2 = 5
    15. Everything In Its Right Place
    16. Myxomatosis
    17. Idioteque

Encore 1:

  1. Let Down
  2. Present Tense
  3. Paranoid Android
  4. Nude
  5. Bodysnatchers

Encore 2:

  1. Bloom
  2. Street Spirit (Fade Out)

(b) highlights

  • RADIOHEAD!!! WHAAAAAAAT.
  • “Let Down”!! It was the first time Radiohead played it live since 2006. That’s 10 years. What.
  • I never could’ve predicted it, but wow, “No Surprises” made me so emotional; I have always worshiped OK Computer and I think hearing such a beautiful song from me reminded me of the first time I really got into that album
  • “2 + 2 = 5”!!!! One of my favorite Radiohead tracks ever, holy crap this was amazing and I never thought they’d play it
  • the new material from A Moon Shaped Pool was freaking amazing; I love the album a ton and hearing so much of it live elevated it beyond what I thought possible; “Present Tense” is my favorite from the album and it was p e r f e c t live. perfect.
  • really this entire setlist, like, this band is incredible
  • just being at this show in general; there was and still is so much controversy over the ticket sales and how it all sold out in about half a second (I don’t even want to talk about how much I paid these tickets via StubHub…)

(c) lowlights

  • pretty much nothing; might’ve been cool to hear “Karma Police,” “Talk Show Host,” and “True Love Waits,” but man I can’t really complain at all
  • oh, and why on God’s green Earth are Radiohead selling a sweatshirt that is more expensive than the damn ticket to the show at their merch table; why was every t-shirt at least $50 when they’re just simple cotton shirts, come on lads

(d) overall thoughts

Most people might not know this, but Radiohead is my second favorite band of all time. I’ve loved them ever since I got really into their first couple of albums in high school and they’ve stuck with me ever since. This show was the first time I’d seen them in over 8 years and it felt like the first time all over again. OK ComputerIn RainbowsHail to the ThiefThe Bends – they’re really all incredible. True pieces of art that have withstood decades already and will withstand many more.

Radiohead’s live shows are those sort of experiences where it feels like time stops and everyone is choosing to stop along with it. Every single body in Madison Square Garden was standing, awake, erect, and alive that night. Not everyone was moving to the music, which was at first strange to me, but it really started making sense in context as the show continued. Radiohead has this overwhelming ability to command all attention without doing anything. I feel like any popular band can get people screaming and losing their minds, but it takes true artists to completely silence a room. Thom Yorke has that ability. How? I don’t know. Everything about him just feels profound and thoughtful. He hadn’t even opened his mouth near the microphone yet and the entire arena was frozen, gaping, and ready to be taken for a ride. What a ride it was.

The Moon Shaped Pool material felt just as perfectly heavy and floaty and deep and surface and sad and triumphant as it does on the album, but significantly better. All the songs sounded exactly like the album, but widely elevated. It’s the strange conundrum that is Radiohead. They’re abstract and intimidating and can feel pretentious, but they’re also extremely simple and understated and intimately understanding. Madison Square Garden felt so massive when everyone was singing “Everything In Its Right Place,” but then immediately shrunk to this small, intimate space once “Present Tense” began. Hearing “Daydreaming” instantly put me into the music video and I swear I could feel the temperature in the room drop as if we were all walking through that Paul Thomas Anderson landscape. “15 Step,” “Nude,” and “Paranoid Android” plummeted me into memories of high school and before – how crazy is it that In Rainbows is nearly a decade old now? These songs are so indicative of the time in which they were released, sure, but even more than that – they’re timeless. Just like Radiohead shows. You feel every hair on your body stand when the opening notes to “Idioteque” start, but your body also isn’t even present. The outside world stopped once the show began, but the performance also rapidly soared by; I couldn’t believe that over an hour had passed once we got to the encore. I guess what I’m saying is, Radiohead is contradictory and unique and that’s magic. Simple as that.

 

Bottom line: Radiohead is one of the greatest bands of all time and I’m pretty sure there isn’t an argument there; their live performance feels like an existentially spiritual experience. I think the fact their music feels philosophically contradictory is the beauty of them.

The Killers 7/22/16

(a) setlist

    1. Enterlude
    2. Change Your Mind
    3. Spaceman
    4. Smile Like You Mean It
    5. Bones
    6. Losing Touch
    7. Bling (Confession of a King)
    8. Shadowplay (Joy Division cover)
    9. Human
    10. Somebody Told Me
    11. Glamorous Indie Rock ‘n’ Roll
    12. For Reasons Unknown
    13. A Dustland Fairytale
    14. Can’t Help Falling In Love (Elvis Presley cover)
    15. Read My Mind
    16. Runaways
    17. All These Things That I’ve Done
    18. Mr. Brightside

Encore:

  1. Shot at the Night
  2. Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
  3. When You Were Young

(b) highlights

  • The Killers are perfection, thank you and goodnight.
  • as someone who sees this band a lot…I really appreciate when they change things up; opening with “Enterlude” and “Change Your Mind” was definitely different and I loved it a lot
  • even though they aren’t my favorite songs in any way and I could name probably 20 Killers songs I’d want to hear before them, it was nice to hear “Bones” and “Losing Touch” for the first time in legit 8 years
  • for some reason, Brandon seemed really emotionally into “A Dustland Fairytale” and “Runaways” at this show, and that’s always a cool thing to see
  • Ronnie Vannucci continually dominates existence and all other dudes should pretty much just quit trying
  • the Elvis cover is probably the only repeated Killers cover that I genuinely really like and feel excited when it starts
  • the very confused yet earnest speeches before both “Losing Touch” and “Glamorous Indie Rock ‘n’ Roll” (“This is called Losing Touch. You can find it on the YouTube”; “I went to Dave’s apartment and we read on the computer…”)
  • “Shot at the Night” just might be in my top 10 favorite Killers songs; maybe even higher
  • being all the barricade with everyone I was with; sharing the experience with the people around you can really enhance the emotional setting and I won’t ever forget the feeling of being alongside my friends
  • Ronnie Vannucci threw me his drumstick just before the encore; air-drumming your heart out really pays off, people ❤
  • “Tell all your friends.” – Ronnie Vannucci Junior, savior, genius, poet

(c) lowlights

  • Mark August Stoermer, every show is incomplete without you, I hope you realize that
  • do we really need “Shadowplay” still in this set after literally 9 years? no, we do not need “Shadowplay” still in this set after 9 years
  • why was only one song from “Battle Born” played? that album was good enough for me, BFlow. it was more than good enough for me.
  • one day, this band will resurrect “Believe Me Natalie” and I will be there to see it, I swear to all that is holy this will happen

(d) overall thoughts

Oh, Atlantic City. For some reason, almost on accident, I’ve seen The Killers in Atlantic City three times in the last four years. And strangely, every time has been particularly great. Even though casino shows are usually a drag – whether because of the crowd or something else – this show at the Borgata was fantastic. It could just be that the last time I saw The Killers was at the very very rainy and very very massive Governor’s Ball Festival, but this Borgata show felt exceptionally intimate. You could see Brandon’s pores, you could see Dave’s gray guitar picks tucked into his mic, you could hear Ronnie laugh.

The set was an unusual one in that it was so heavy on both Hot Fuss and Sam’s Town songs, but I sort of loved that. Battle Born felt a little neglected, but it also felt like the band was having fun. There was a freshness to it all, which is a great irony considering nearly every song performed was released between four and 12 years ago. No one can say that The Killers don’t treat every performance like it’s their first time playing all those tracks. There’s passion, energy, excitement, and it never feels like they’re going through the motions.

The wonder of all these shows, the reason we all keep coming back, and the reason why I’ll never stop going is all the same. Because it’s home. Brandon’s showmanship, silly speeches, and equally silly jackets. Dave’s understated presence and flawless talent (seriously, have you ever heard that dude miss a note?). Ronnie’s playful energy and awe-inspiring performance. The songs. The lights. The feeling. That shit is home.

 

Bottom line: The Killers are my children, my heart, my precious angels, and the ones that welcome me home with every single live performance. How could I not love them for that?

Coldplay 7/17/16

(a) setlist

    1. A Head Full of Dreams
    2. Yellow
    3. Every Teardrop is a Waterfall
    4. The Scientist
    5. Birds
    6. Paradise
    7. Always in My Head
    8. Princess of China
    9. Everglow
    10. Clocks
    11. Midnight
    12. Charlie Brown
    13. Hymn For the Weekend
    14. Fix You
    15. Heroes (David Bowie cover)
    16. Viva La Vida
    17. Adventure of a Lifetime
    18. Trouble (acoustic)
    19. God Put a Smile Upon Your Face (acoustic)

Encore:

  1. Earth Angel (The Penguins cover) (performed with Michael J. Fox)
  2. Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry cover) (performed with Michael J. Fox)
  3. A Sky Full of Stars
  4. Up & Up

(b) highlights

  • seeing Coldplay for the first time was pretty cool, I guess!
  • ummmmm, Michael J. Fox came out and played two songs from one of the greatest movies of all time, Back to the Future, and apparently some people weren’t crying which is insane to me because I was sobbing
  • “Trouble”!!! “God Put a Smile Upon Your Face”!!! “Yellow”!!! “The Scientist”!!! Basically anything released before X&Y!!!!
  • seeing “Up & Up” was pretty cool, considering it’s my favorite track from Coldplay’s newest album, Adventure of a Lifetime (I swear that Noel Gallagher, who plays guitar on it, has something to do with it)
  • getting to experience a literal stadium of people singing along to a song like “Fix You” really is something you treasure forever, even if it’s a bit overly packaged up and wrapped in an over-produced bow; it’s still a beautiful song

(c) lowlights

  • ironically, a lowlight was literally all the light-up bracelets Coldplay is known for having at their shows; I get that they’re supposed to add something to the experience and that they “look cool” when all of them light up accordingly, but I personally found them really distracting; the best songs I found where ones where the bracelets weren’t implemented at all
  • why does Chris Martin have to be so annoying? it’s like – I know that he’s honestly probably not a bad dude, but there’s this strange self-righteousness about him that puts me over the edge. oh and he dresses like he shops at a store where Lisa Frank somehow sponsored clothing for grown men
  • getting to MetLife Stadium in New Jersey from NYC is literal. hell. on. earth.

(d) overall thoughts

I have a lot of conflicting thoughts about Coldplay that can basically be brought down to this: I think their first two albums, Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head, are mindblowingly incredible records, and 75% of everything else they’ve put out is garbage. Now, I know that’s not really fair and maybe it’s not even true, but it feels real to me. To me, X&Y was ultimately a very disappointing album that included a couple of good tracks – “Talk” and “Fix You.” I hated Viva La Vida when it came out, but grew to really like about half the record a few years later. I thought Mylo Xylophone (I know it’s not called that but I swear I can’t ever remember the real name so I just call it that and honestly, does anyone actually care? no.) was overwhelmingly pop trash, but I could allow myself to relent to it and even enjoy about half of it. I thought their “stripped back” and “underproduced” album Ghost Stories was absolutely dull and worked like a sleeping pill, and believe their newest Adventure of a Lifetime is a midlife crisis album with little soul or heart save one or two songs.

All of that may seem harsh and confusing considering I went all the way to New Jersey to see them in a stadium, but the truth is this: I want to like Coldplay. I want them to win me over and blow me away. But they just don’t, in terms of recent album releases. So, I decided to give them a chance and see them live. And did they blow me away? No. Were they totally terrible? No. Do I still feel just as confused about them as before? Yeah, pretty much.

The moments I’ll remember most from the performance are Michael J. Fox joining the band to perform “Earth Angel” and “Johnny B. Goode,” and not just because Back to the Future is one of my favorite movies ever. I definitely won’t forget how everyone was singing along to “Yellow” and “Fix You,” and how it felt like everything in the entire stadium had stopped when the band played “Trouble” on a small side stage, only with acoustic guitars to accompany them. I’ll even remember everyone singing the refrain of “Up & Up” as the night came to a close. And I want to remember all those moments, because they were beautiful.

But you know what I wish I could forget about that night? I wish I could forget about the fact that fireworks – real fireworks, not just spark displays – went off four times during the performance. Four. I wish I could forget how those damn light-up bracelets made everyone scream with joy as if no one had ever seen shiny lights before in their lives. I wish I could forget about the gimmicks of the performance because, to be honest, they all felt a bit cheap despite the fact that they were clearly some display of overcompensation I’ll never understand. Truly, one of my favorite parts of the night was during “Yellow” – and that song isn’t even one of my favorite Coldplay tracks or anything. I mean, it is pretty great and definitely a classic, but it affected me so much because it was the first song without any damn fireworks or flashing lights or some big whole display. It was literally just the band playing their song on a stage. That’s all. That might not be what people want when they pay to see an internationally renowned band at a 60,000+ person stadium, but maybe that’s just me. Maybe I was never meant to really see Coldplay in that setting because the Coldplay I used to love doesn’t exist anymore. And that’s okay! Because, despite all those flashing lights (“all those lights and all that sound,” ughhhh), the beautiful moments were still wonderful in their own right and that’s something strong enough to want to remember.

 

Bottom line: Seeing Coldplay didn’t really solve my conflicted feelings about them, but more settled the fact that human beings seem to really, really like flashing lights. Despite that, Michael J. Fox and Back to the Future reenactments aren’t something I could turn down and neither are Coldplay songs written before 2005.

Note: These pictures are either taken with my Canon Rebel XS, a Galaxy s5, or through a monocular….because I was literally sitting in the rafters, don’t judge.

She Wants Revenge 7/16/16

(a) setlist

    1. Red Flags and Long Nights
    2. These Things
    3. I Don’t Want to Fall in Love
    4. Out of Control
    5. Monologue
    6. Broken Promises for Broken Hearts
    7. Sister
    8. Disconnect
    9. Us
    10. Someone Must Get Hurt
    11. Tear You Apart
    12. She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

Encore:*

  1. Sleep
  2. True Romance
  3. Black Liner Run
  4. Take the World
  5. Replacement
  6. Written in Blood
  7. Rachael

*I’m not sure about the order of the encore because my memory is hazy and records online are incomplete.

(b) highlights

  • man, She Wants Revenge are freaking cool
  • it says a lot when your debut album has so many strong tracks – and 10 years later people want to come back and see it
  • the crowd was awesome – literally every person in Irving Plaza was dancing and totally into it
  • Justin and Adam seemed like the most genuine dudes I’ve seen on-stage in awhile; they were so humble and proud that the crowd came out and spoke so fondly of their time in New York over the years
  • “These Things,” “I Don’t Want to Fall in Love,” “Out of Control,” and “Tear You Apart” were total highlights – talk about moody, broody, and beautifully setting-the-scene lyrical treasures

(c) lowlights

  • can’t think of a single bad thing to say about it

(d) overall thoughts

I discovered She Wants Revenge right around the time their self-titled debut came out in 2006. They come from the same hometown as me, which is a cool coincidence even if their music doesn’t really depict that at all. She Wants Revenge has always sounded a bit like Interpol if they were dirtier, or Joy Division if they were sexier, so God knows I’m down for that. This show really highlighted their strengths in setting the scene with super sexy lyrical turns of phrase, overwhelming bass line and rhythms, and lighting displays that really dictate the mood.

As the band played their whole first album, I couldn’t help but remember when I first got into it during high school, the friends of mine at the time who also liked and appreciated my weird musical taste, and all the times She Wants Revenge were a pleasant relief on the modern rock radio between all the garbage that was streamed on there. The music took me back, but it also really resonated even more now as an adult living in New York City. Even though both She Wants Revenge and I are from Los Angeles, something about that music feels very much wrapped in the city. And Adam 12 and Justin Warfield, the band co-founders even took the time to mention this during the show. They talked about the significance New York city had on their career – not only musically, but audience-wise. It’s cool to hear and remember how, as a fan, you really affect the livelihood of these guys.

Bottom line: I danced all night, I heard some memorably sexy and dark tracks that I loved when I was young and love even a bit more now, and got to be a part of a crowd that genuinely showed up for excellent music – what more could I ask for when it comes to seeing a great band like She Wants Revenge? Absolutely nothing.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds 7/5/16

(a) setlist

    1. Everybody’s on the Run
    2. Lock All The Doors
    3. In the Heat of the Moment
    4. Riverman
    5. Fade Away (Oasis cover)
    6. The Death of You and Me
    7. You Know We Can’t Go Back
    8. Champagne Supernova (Oasis cover)
    9. Ballad of the Mighty I
    10. Talk Tonight (Oasis cover)
    11. D’Yer Wanna Be a Spaceman? (Oasis cover)
    12. The Mexican
    13. Half The World Away (Oasis cover)
    14. Listen Up (Oasis cover)
    15. If I Had a Gun…
    16. Digsy’s Dinner (Oasis cover)
    17. The Masterplan (Oasis cover)

Encore:

  1. Wonderwall (Oasis cover)
  2. AKA…What a Life!
  3. Don’t Look Back in Anger (Oasis cover)

(b) highlights

  • NOEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
  • I have been waiting to see Noel Gallagher live since the beginning of time, this show was incredible
  • people who hate on Noel Gallagher: I have one question for you – did you write “Champagne Supernova”? No? Then sit the eff down and shut it.
  • “Talk Tonight,” “The Masterplan,” “Wonderwall,” “Champagne Supernova,” “Half the World Way,” “If I Had a Gun…” LIKE OH OKAY
  • “Don’t Look Back in Anger” is one of my favorite songs ever written. like. of all time. It meant so, so, so much to hear it live, you have no idea
  • Noel Gallagher’s in-between song banter is what puts him just about “National Treasure” into “Perfect Human” category
  • for the most part, the crowd was super into everything and dead awesome

(c) lowlights

  • my friends and I stood up during “Champagne Supernova” because we are human and the people behind us got annoyed. even though we also had people standing in front of us. and these people were fully capable of standing. and instead of just asking us to maybe sit, they threw a cup at me. LOOOOOOL.

(d) overall thoughts

Noel Gallagher is a genius. The end. Not much else to say.

But I guess I could go on. The Beacon Theatre is completely gorgeous and I’d been looking forward to this show the moment I heard about it. I first really got into Oasis about 12 years ago, so I never got to see them when they were still touring and the Gallaghers didn’t fully hate each other yet. I’ve always thought Noel was the real talent between the two (sorry Liam), so getting to see him during his solo work was amazing. Chasing Yesterday is a killer album and that live band really brings home the goods. And I don’t think a single person in that venue wasn’t singing along to “If I Had a Gun…” Man, how great is that.

Noel has always said that he plays so much Oasis material because they’re his songs – he wrote them – and the dude’s got a point. I freaking loved every minute of it. You can’t deny the significance of Oasis or Noel Gallagher or Britpop in general when you walk into the venue and hear “Champagne Supernova” echoing off the walls. Noel is pretty much just standing there in simple slacks and a button-down, with his guitar, and a modest screen behind him. That’s it. There aren’t big shiny laser lights or huge theatrics. Just these massive songs with incredible feeling and emotion. And for all the jokes Gallagher tells and all the times he swears he doesn’t give a shit about anything…you know he cares about those songs. How could you not?

Noel started the encore by saying, “This next song pays for my wages. And the band’s wages. And got me a house. And probably paid your wages too. It’s because of this song, that I can do anything at all.” Some might find that cynical or whatever – hell, I admit that I laughed – but, also…how freaking special is that? Because “Wonderwall” is a song that exists in the world, literally thousands of people get to do what they love and witness something really freaking cool. “Don’t Look Back in Anger” is one of my favorite songs ever – really, truly ever – and you know that a musician or songwriter has unbelievable power when he doesn’t even have to sing the words; the entire crowd sang it back to him. Every person in that theatre sang every chorus of the song right back to Noel and, Christ, there are few better moments in live music than that.

Bottom line: Noel Gallagher is one of my favorite people ever, so seeing this show is something I’ll treasure for the rest of my life. Not only is Noel freaking hysterical in every way, but he’s a killer musician who’s still consistently putting out stellar music. Who else can say they wrote one song that changed the world? Not many.