#94 – Radiohead @Madison Square Garden – New York – 27 Jul ’16

#94 – Radiohead @Madison Square Garden – New York – 27 Jul ’16

This is the one I had been waiting for with bated breath since the beginning of the year, almost afraid that I might die before living this! Working in New Jersey on a project afforded some unique opportunities to see some great artists at the self-proclaimed “Greatest Music Venue of the World”, the Madison Square Garden (MSG)! And though driving into Manhattan is not fun on weekdays especially after office hours but once you get there, always always worth it! And for this one carpooled with Sunny, my NY concert buddy working at the same project (though we had different seats) and we started playing and singing Radiohead songs really loud while in traffic so was fun.

The devotees streaming in, soaking in the reality of watching Radiohead Live!
The devotees streaming in, soaking in the reality of watching Radiohead Live!

For this one I really wanted to get a drink, anything to make sure the concert goes perfectly mood-wise, so apprehensive I was. Overall 2016 concerts have been a little less enjoyable and more introspective for me since I had quit drinking late 2015; I mean I am there for the music and the artists but you do need a little intoxication to momentarily blank out the rigors of the daily life and sanitize you before diving into the immersive ocean of beautiful rhythms and abstract lyrics. So when I entered the venue and headed for the t-shirt stands, I hoped I had met with the only disappointment of the day as the t-shirts – mementos of an hopefully memorable day –  were just unimaginatively crap, I was so sad! But had to get one so picked the only one with any mention of the tour dates and venues and headed for my seat. Now I would have loved to get a floor ticket, but did I tell you how crazy getting even 1 (any) ticket for the show was? No, well let me just say, it spurred internet memes! But once safely seated, I looked around and the energy was palpable as we worshippers waited for the modern gods of music to start.

Us, Worshippers!
Us, Worshippers!

Now Radiohead was playing two nights at the MSG and this was the second. The guy seated in front of me was telling his fellow strangers how AWESOME last night’s show was (which he had attended as well). Listening to him I felt a shiver, got a few goose-pimples but refrained myself from sinking too much into it; the guy also sounded a little drunk! But made me wonder why I didn’t try to get last minute tickets for the previous show as well, I could have, they were just 1 hour away and I was just working; could have seen Radiohead thrice instead of just twice (as I still had the Outside Lands show next)! Work does suck a lot out of us and makes us forget all the other things we used to like to do! But I have held steadfast to this passion of mine and had borne the brunt of many a storms for this. There was a girl next to me and we started talking about Radiohead, she was another Radioheader like me and once that “handshake” was established, we couldn’t stop gushing over this album and that song and which ones we hoped they will play tonight, maybe something special just for us. This is the mind-to-mind connection among Radiohead fans, its a very personal and deep and intimate love, and once you know another fan is at that same place too, its an immediate and heartfelt connection.

Hear, Hear. There There!
Them, Gods!

And then the lights went down, there was a mighty roar of reverence, and they got on stage and started with the first couple of A Moon Shaped Pool songs. Now I have been to Radiohead as well as Atoms for Peace concerts before and I know they are a bit of a slow-starter. The first 3-4 songs were OK and I was not immediately blown over (sometimes Thom can be a bit tuneless but that’s our Thom and we love him nonetheless). But it was building up, it was building up. And then it exploded with My Iron Lung, took me off my sober stupor and catapulted me into an inner world of melodies, heart-tugs, angst, euphoria, desolation, thoughts and feelings and convictions fused with this note and that line and the all-permeating existential wail of Radiohead. Who are we? Why are we here? And what are we doing? Song after song went by in a daze, I and everyone else were in our own Radiohead-zones, talking to ourselves, dancing with ourselves, sobbing on ourselves. I don’t know what else to say except –

Tears of Joy,

Tears of Joy :’)

Johnny Greenwood doing his thing!
Johnny Greenwood doing his thing!
Ed O'Brien, the quiet one, but not quite on the guitar!
Ed O’Brien, the quiet one, but not quite on the guitar!

When it finally ended and the lights came back on, I looked around and thought I sensed the same everywhere, Tears of Joy as people were waking up from their Radiodaze! I asked her and he asked me and she asked another “Wasn’t it Great, wasn’t it Great?” Man, what I night, simply amazing. And as I was flowed with the human river towards the exits, I finally heaved a sigh of relief, my anxiety was misplaced after all! And then I stole a counterfeit Radiohead t-shirt from a guy selling it on the streets as it was really cool, much better than the official merchandise, and I didn’t have enough cash to pay for it! Actually didn’t intend to steal it but the guy drifted away looking for other customers and I was calling Sunny to get some cash but we couldn’t figure out where we each were and so I didn’t go back to him to return it. Whatever, Radiohead will forgive me! Now can hardly wait for Outside Lands in San Francisco!

  • Concert#: 94
  • Season: 2016
  • Date: 27-July-2016
  • Band/Artist: Radiohead
  • Tour Name: A Moon Shaped Pool
  • Supporting acts: None
  • Venue: Madison Square Garden
  • City: New York, NY
  • Setlist: Radiohead @ New York – 27th Jul 2016
  • Fun Fact: Stole a counterfeit tour t-shirt
  • My Concert Quotient: 5/5

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