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Nothing Really Happened During Live from A Moon Shaped Pool

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What exactly did happen during Radiohead’s Live From A Moon Shaped Pool events? Anything interesting? Not exactly, or it depends what you call interesting…if you are fascinated by watching people browsing the CDs and vinyl rows while listening to ‘Daydreaming’, this event was for you, but beside this, nothing much did happen at Amoeba, which was just one of the record stores participating to the streaming worldwide.

But the smart people at Amoeba had actually organized two nights, a pre-release night on Thursday and a release night on Friday with the live streaming. I got a free button and a poster on Thursday and didn’t get anything on Friday when I bought a CD. I probably arrived too late for the action, but was on time for the live streaming. When I arrived, the white vinyl had already sold out, and the fans were already gone, I bet some of them had lined up since the beginning of the afternoon to snap the precious artwork and special editions, but they didn’t bother hanging out in the store to listen to the live streaming. Before coming I had made up this stupid scene in my head, fans holding hands while religiously listening to the recording, but we were not even close, obviously, no such thing happened.

A day before, nobody knew what would be happening on Friday, I asked an Amoeba employee and she answered ‘I have no idea!’… The live streaming turned out to be an audio streaming and I certainly would have loved to see a movie or some images of this crowd we were hearing through the audio system of the store. A live streaming in a place where people don’t really pay attention – and why should they have, they were busy with their shopping – is a lonesome experience. You realize this London Roundhouse crowd (the source of the audio) was having fun, but you are just in a store, with no image and no ticket for Radiohead’s upcoming concerts in Los Angeles. Nevertheless, I listened to a large portion of it, an extended version of Daydreaming, followed by the new songs, ‘Decks Dark’, ‘Desert Island Disk’ and its exotic almost Afro-Arabic arrangements… they didn’t sound as perfect as the recording, Thom Yorke voice was struggling a bit, and I can tell you that, if you are attending a concert and being overwhelmed by the surrounding ambiance, you’d better listening to the CD… this thing was turning into a trite experience, so informal that people were still nonchalantly doing their shopping during a more energetic version of ‘Ful Stop’, or old favorites like ‘Kid A’ and ‘No Surprises’.

Have you ever noticed you can’t Shazam any live songs? The app simply doesn’t get it, even with Thom Yorke’s very distinctive voice and not buried under tons of instrumentation. ‘Glass Eyes’ sounded so melancholic and so short too, I felt even more lonely, then came ‘The National Anthem’, ‘The Numbers’, ‘Myxomatosis’, ‘Idioteque’… and I was ready to leave, I was not staying for the 4 hours of curated and obscure music that was about to come.

Nothing was really happening inside the store, but what else could people have done, it’s not totally music to dance to, and I was wondering when looking at the shoppers, did they even notice they were listening to a special recording curated by Yorke and his band? At least there was no beating like at an Istanbul event, where fans had gathered at Velvet Indieground, a tiny record store, before being violently interrupted by some fascist idiots who started to vandalize the store and attack them and the shop owner, simply because this was happening during Ramadan, the religious fasting month, when good Muslims are not supposed to drink beer and simply have fun. Every day, we should celebrate the freedom that we take for granted.

Beside the audio stream from the band, I signed for a competition, that I very probably didn’t win, and I didn’t get Stanley Donwood’s pamphlet for instructional artworks, that someone shared here.

Actually there is a thread on Reddit, which sums up very well the experience: ‘Live from a Moon Shaped Pool, don’t bother’… Do you receive the W.A.S.T.E. emails like I do? Do you remember the lyrics of ‘How to Disappear Completely’, ‘This Isn’t happening/ I’m not here, I’m not here/In a little while/I’ll be gone/The moment’s already passed/Yeah, it’s gone’? This translates, more than anything else, the mood of my global experience of Live from A Moon Shaped Pool.

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