Absolutely spellbinding. The world’s best band at this point in time – and arguably at any other – closed day one of Scotland’s newest music festival and, as is their wont, they did so in spectacular fashion.
For much of their 25-year career, Radiohead have sailed through genre and form effortlessly, never afraid to separate themselves from the stereotypical and radio-friendly bands of today. It has won them admirers and critics in almost equal measure. A criticism often levelled at the band by the naysayers is that they’re “inward-gazing” and “verge on the indulgent”.
At TRNSMT, however, the Oxford quintet performed a crowd-pleasing, two-and-a-half hour set of old favourites sprinkled in between newer material.
Unlike Radiohead’s recent Glastonbury headline set, there was no Creep to appease the unconverted, but at their first Scottish show in nearly a decade the setlist was more even-paced than their divisive appearance on the Pyramid Stage, which, according to reports, had festival-goers leaving in droves.
There were few signs of the crowd thinning out as Thom Yorke and co cleverly interspersed their more abstract, space-jazz numbers with fan favourites like Pyramid Song, Everything In Its Right Place, There There and Idioteque.
Yorke kept his between-song chatter to a minimum, only really uttering the odd “thank you”.
Highlights – and there were many – included No Surprises (its “bring down the government/they don’t speak for us” line drawing huge cheers from the crowd), the titanic guitar opera that is Paranoid Android, and a double salvo from the band’s 1995 sophomore album that saw Fake Plastic Trees and The Bends thrown in either side of the lesser-celebrated Nude, a cut from their 2007 album In Rainbows.
Radiohead brought their 25-song set to a thrilling climax with the anthemic Karma Police, its final refrain of “for a minute there, I lost myself” prompting a mass singalong from 35,000 very satisfied punters.
Words: Gary Flockhart
All I Need
Everything In Its Right Place
2 + 2 = 5
Fake Plastic Trees