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Oldies But Goldies: The Night I Met Thom Yorke



All this Radiohead fever, due to the upcoming dates they have in the US and an upcoming album, made me think about a memorable episode that happened a few years ago. I can’t believe it was already 8 years ago, the UK band played two sold-out consecutive nights at the Hollywood Bowl in August 2008, and the Bowl is a large place (more than 17,000 seats) and if they had decided to play there again this year instead of this stupid idea to book the Shrine auditorium, I may have had more chance to get a ticket? I have a vivid memory of this show, especially what happened after the show, because it was the night I met Thom.

The show had been exceptional, I remember the place being on fire with multicolor lights and multilayered sounds, giving me the impression there was way too much there to absorb at once: there are limits to what the brain can absorb at once, and this had definitively gone beyond my limits. It’s a little bit too far away in my memory to describe it with precision, but I know I witnessed many sonic fireworks that night, and the sound became a huge solid wall filling the large arena.

After the show, I hung around a little bit, checking the band merchandize, and I saw a group of people gathered along barricades in the left exit, visibly waiting for something. I decided to know more about it, and as expected, they were hoping to get a glimpse of their heroes when they leave the place?

I must say, I was quite skeptical, don’t these people leave in limos using underground tunnels to avoid the crowd? However, some of the Hollywood Bowl guards had let fans hope for the miracle, saying they were just there, and ready to exit. One of the female guards had candidly said to the fans she had never heard of Radiohead,…’Er,… they are quite big’ said politely a fan with a smile. I remember the girl next to me being so anxious, she gave the impression she would not survive the night, it was too overwhelming for her, and although the adrenaline level was high, most of the people were quietly waiting.

Drummer Phil Selway was the first one to show up, and he signed autographs on everything, while flashed by all the cameras at the same time. So there was hope! Shortly after, Colin Greenwood made an apparition, not too close though, announcing that Thom would come.

I don’t remember exactly when it happened but the girl next to me began to repeat ‘I’m gonna die-I’m gonna die’… not all fans were impressed to that degree, but still, Thom Yorke was expected like a semi-god.

And he came and he was very nice. He signed my ticket, with a polite ‘Hi’ while waving his hand. It was brief and calm, nobody was pushing or screaming, but everyone was in awe.

One last thing, we had been told he didn’t want pictures, and we were warned before his arrival he would leave if someone dared to shoot one. Was it a diva request? I don’t know, but I didn’t try and nobody else tried.

The internet is an amazing thing, since it took me a few seconds to find the setlist of that show, and there were two encores!

15 Step
There There
Morning Bell
All I Need
Pyramid Song
Arpeggi/Weird Fishees
The Gloaming
The National Anthem
Wolf at the Door
Faust Arp
Exit Music
Jigsaw Falling into Place
Climbing up the walls
How to Dissappear Completely

Dollars and Cents
Paranoid Android
Street Spirit

2nd encore:
House of cards
Everything In Its Right Place

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