Radiohead

 

THE weather forecast said rain for the Radiohead concert and it was right. Bleak, grey clouds hung over the RDS. But, though the country was in the grip of a meteorological trough, depression was definitely not an option. Radiohead, teetering on the brink of superstardom, were about to come onstage to their huge Irish following and, despite the wet weather, this outdoor show felt like a dry run for the Oxford band's impending world domination.

Teenage Fanclub opened the proceedings early in the evening, after which Massive Attack got settled into a dubby groove while the crowd swayed in the damp air. This was the full Massive Attack monty, not just the "sound system", so we were almost able to savour the complete live experience of Bristol's trippiest hiphoppers. Daddy G, Mushroom and 3D led with laidback raps and shimmering keyboard runs, helped by reggae veteran Horace Andy on guest vocals. It wasn't half loud enough, even though the band cut loose with some wellhard rock sounds, and the bass rumbled low across the RDS lawn.

The volume was cranked up for Radiohead's grand entrance. As the computerised voicebox on Fitter Happier rang out in satirical introduction it was apparent that Them Yorke and Co were not going to be aided by anything other than a few stage lights and an arsenal of great songs.

Lucky was the first of these, remembered by anyone who bought the Help album last year, but this was just a warmup for My Iron Lung, and the sight of 35,000 young people wigging out to the song's whacked out middleweight was something to behold. "Has the rain stopped?" asked Yorke, peering into the crowd. It had. "Cool. This one's called Airbag."

Exit Music (For A Film), from the soundtrack to Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet, was the first of many introspective moments which allowed the band to weave some delicate filigrees of sound; Planet Telex, on the other hand, chopped through the atmosphere with the swing of an axe. Talk Show Host and Fake Plastic Trees set a false lull which was then royally trashed by the vitriol and violence of Paranoid Android

After the last spasm of The Bends died down, Radiohead returned to a now darkened stadium for the shadowy Street Spirit, ending with the elegiac refrain from The Tourist, the closing track from OK Computer. We thought it was all over, but it wasn't, and as the rain returned to the RDS we trudged home happy with the sound of High + Dry ringing through the night.