Radiohead (1)

Glastonbury Festival 2003 review

published: Wed 6th Aug 2003

Friday 27th to Sunday 29th June 2003
Worthy Farm, Pilton, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, BA4 4AZ, England MAP
£105 (plus booking fee plus postage) - SOLD OUT!
daily capacity: 150000
last updated: Wed 7th Aug 2013

It's Saturday night, and Radiohead are about to come on. You can feel the tension in the air, as people look around to try and feel out which kind of fans they are surrounded by. Near the front are the die-hards, the Kid A Kids, the Amnesiacs and the Thieves to which we Hail. Round the edges stand the OK Computerites, desperately hoping to get The Bends or maybe even a little Pablo Honey. I'm surrounded by the mega-fans near the front, hoping that they won't spot me for a fraud. They were heroes in 1997, but can they do it again?

Then, the time is upon us, and the band takes the stage. Without hesitation they burst into the deeply atmospheric 'There There', the first single from the new album. It takes a while to get going, but the song is built on such a relentless increase in momentum throughout, that by the end it sounds incredible. Next up is another new track, the ethereal-into-visceral '2+2=5'. Poor arithmetic aside, this is destined to become a memorable track, as it twists in a matter of seconds from quiet contemplation to explosive invective. The fans go crazy for it, but those who have never heard the album are starting to worry. Will there be anything from the first three albums?

Radiohead

A brief respite comes next though, with the sublime 'Lucky', which Thom Yorke dedicates to REM, who are actually watching from the side of the stage. A return to Kid A follows, with a brief excursion down soundtrack avenue, but by now the newer songs are starting to sound more melodious than before, and many doubters are converted by the incredible stage presence of the band, and the loyal army of supporters that can sing along with every single beat.

And so the set goes. Every time that is seems Radiohead might lose the attention of the masses, they come back and throw in another old track to please them. You don't like 'The Gloaming'? Well, how about back-to-back 'No Surprises' and 'Fake Plastic Trees'? Two songs so delicately beautiful that the cumulative shivers down the spines of the packed field actually helps to reduce global warming. The night starts to blur into one, as the possessive beats of 'Sit Down Stand Up' linger in the mind through two more songs to make it to 'Paranoid Android', whereupon the entire crowd delights in screaming "kicking squealing Gucci little piggy". Now they are a band in their element, and even without the incredible light shows from the World's Most Versatile Strip Lights behind them, Idioteque would never have sounded so sweet. They end on the personal favourite of a certain Pilton farmer, and you'd be hard pressed to disagree that 'Everything In Its Right Place' is an accurate summation.

Radiohead

But wait, there's more. Starting the encore with one single word... "rock", Thom Yorke leads Radiohead back to their roots and they blast away with 'Just', before calming down again to finish for a second time with 'Karma Police', ending with just Thom leading the entire crowd in a chorus of 'For a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself'. He steps off stage, and we've been treated, we really have, and I am therefore taken totally aback by the 'Glastonbury Moment' which follows.

Radiohead

The lights stay down, indicating another encore to come, perhaps just one more song for the night. The cheers resound around the crowd, rhythmic clapping starts up and then dies away, and the crowd starts to lull, until a murmur starts somewhere towards the back, and before you know it the entire crowd is suddenly belting out "For a minute there I lost myself, I lost myself" in what seems like perfect harmony. We don't have our cheerleader any more, but we still thunder it out, thousand upon thousand of voices joined together in unison to bring the band back out. By now it doesn't matter what kind of fan you are, whether you started off as a casual fan, or an obsessive, that was something special. As is what follows, as Radiohead lead the latest edition of the Glastonbury Choir through the fragile motions of Street Spirit, until it finally is time to fade out.

Yes. They did it again.

review by "Jack Nobbledy"

Friday 27th to Sunday 29th June 2003
Worthy Farm, Pilton, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, BA4 4AZ, England MAP
£105 (plus booking fee plus postage) - SOLD OUT!
daily capacity: 150000
last updated: Wed 7th Aug 2013


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