Where I End and You Begin: Radiohead live in Kansas City 04/05/17
Amidst a 2 1/2 hour set spanning nearly 3 decades of material, UK genre-defining and genre-defying megaliths Radiohead sang, danced and entertained a sold out crowd at the Sprint Center down in Kansas City on a cold and rainy Wednesday night.
In a bit of a departure from their high-energy set openers from last year, the band came out on stage in near-darkness and opened with Daydreaming, a hypnaagogic, somber piano tune from last years brilliant A Moon Shaped Pool. At one point during the song, lights reflecting off mirrors behind the group shot out beams all over the Sprint Center for a stunning, unique visual. Although the next track Desert Island Disk continued the relaxed, chill vibe Radiohead has been known for in recent years, the band wasn’t afraid to get loud and get everyone moving. Ful Stop was probably the loudest bass the Sprint Center has ever experienced, and fan favorites The National Anthem and 15 Step certainly helped to create some tunes to dance to.
2017 is the 20th anniversary of Radiohead’s OK Computer album – the album that really changed the face of alternative music on its’ release – and the band has been trying some lesser known songs live on this tour. In Kansas City, the crowd was treated to an apocalyptic rendition of album opener Airbag, the underrated gem of Lucky and a particularly dark performance of Karma Police, one of Radiohead’s best known songs – complete with an extended outro of Thom Yorke alone on stage leading the crowd with the refrain “For a minute there/I lost myself.” The crowd sung along loudly for one of the many chill-inducing moments of the night.
Radiohead is adept at creating live versions of songs that usually would be close to impossible to perform live. The staccato, frentic strings section of Burn The Witch was replaced with Jonny Greenwood strumming a bow across a guitar before switching to synthesizers – which are absent in the original recording of the track. Jonny Greenwood also showed has unorthodox brilliance by transforming the 2nd half of Fake Plastic Trees, a usually reserved emotional ballad, into one of the loudest guitar-shredding moments of the night. A surprising highlight came in the form of beautiful twin vocal performances from Thom Yorke and guitarist Ed O’Brien on Identikit which should already be hailed as one of Radiohead’s best live songs.
After the frightfully heavy performance of 2003′s There There, Radiohead exited the stage (after 3 separate encores, mind you) to a roar of applause from a fanbase where some had been lined up outside of the doors 12 hours prior. Overheard as the swarm of people spilled out into downtown Kansas City was someone espousing that their flight to the show from Canada earlier that day was the best decision they’d made in years – a testament to how far-reaching and everlasting Radiohead’s impact has been.
Openers Dudu Tassa & The Kuwaitis combined traditional Kuwaiti and Baghdadi music with jazz, blues and alternative rock for a very interesting combination that was nothing short of memorable and entertaining. If anything, it would’ve been grand had they been granted a little more time to drop in a few more songs to their opening set.
- Desert Island Disk
- Ful Stop
- 15 Step
- The National Anthem
- All I Need
- Street Spirit (Fade Out)
- I Might Be Wrong
- Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
- Where I End And You Begin
- Present Tense
- Give Up The Ghost
- Burn the Witch
- Fake Plastic Trees
- You and Whose Army?
- Karma Police
- There There
Special thanks again to Chanelle Jenkins and Alex Watkins for pictures!