Folha de S.Paulo > Ilustrada > March 24th, 2009

RADIOHEAD DOES QUINTESSENTIAL ART, A PUNCH IN THE STOMACH

Today, when the dry cleaner comes and asks “Do you have clothes to be cleaned?”, I will lie and say “No, not today, sir…”
Last time I sent my clothes for cleaning after a Radiohead performance, the next day I saw the dry cleaner return with a certain melancholy written on his face… Their music impregnates even your clothes. It won’t come off. Immediately after the show, it is impossible to even turn on the radio in your car. Talking to somebody, not a chance… Depending on who is with you then, that is a great excuse.
The next morning you still get up feeling uplifted, wondering: what is that, that came over me so strongly? But anyone who boils these feelings down to melancholy alone completely misses the point. This is just one of the countless chills you feel when you listen to them live.
And, at each song, the journey takes you to different places. You will fatally fall in love with their work, provided the places their music takes you to are those you would like to eventually be, to eventually know… Otherwise, you will not like it.
The music is magical, enigmatic, stabbing, daring. The band performs exactly as they are off-stage. No affectation, fads, frivolities. They do not put up any pretense.
They go there, send their massage and, alas, go away. And they are generous. Over two hours of all that, with a mixture in the exact measure of sound, lighting and image. One complementing the other. Light and image at the service of music. Nothing is there without a reason, merely to grab your attention. Everything in the right measure, elegant. An impeccable, unforgettable, performance.
It is hard to highlight any one particular song (despite my passion for “Videotape”). Not even the older seem out of place in the overall context of the show. Thom Yorke, charming genius, excellent singer and absurdly charismatic, leads you with confidence and a bit of satisfaction to another dimension. Afterwards, it is very difficult to come back… Our real world here is a lot duller.
I just get a bit annoyed when I read Radiohead is a rock band. Being just a rock band is certainly no small deed, but they go way beyond that. Way beyond…
Evidently, these feelings are quite particular. They will touch one, but not the other. All I am trying is to say that this group of five guys, school mates, got together and blended lyrics, music, technique, performance, light and image in a way that disquiets me, upsets me.
It is art. Pure, quintessential. A punch in the stomach. Ed, Colin, Jonny, Phil and Thom, I am led to believe, conspired with the purpose of making me levitate with their music. And I, from high above, see a crowd leaving the show late at night… at peace. Happy.

Folha de S.Paulo
Ilustrada
March 24th, 2009

PT / EN